Asparagus time is back!

The plant
Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis subsp. Oficinalis) is a plant whose young shoots are grown as vegetables. There are white and green asparagus. The first are grown in the ground and held the light, the second well have seen the sun. In northwest Europe the white asparagus is the most common, in countries like Italy, the green asparagus. Also, the asparagus in the wild in dune thickets and along rivers.
Asparagus: ode to the white gold
Queen of Darkness,” “white gold”, “elves legs. The asparagus will gourmets for centuries in the clouds. The asparagus season is now in full swing. The groentenman gives pale white vegetables, preferably the most expensive class AA, a place of honor on the counter. Chef Cooks Asparagus break their heads about new creations, where the subtle, slightly bitter flavor of the asparagus is best to justice.

History
The first signs of asparagus consumption found in the pyramids of Saqqara in Egypt, built around 2750 BC. The Romans knew the fruit two centuries before Christ. all appreciate. After the fall of the Roman Empire is also the asparagus cultivation in Europe lost. The knowledge was kept alive but in the Levant. From the 15th century, the asparagus back in Europe, from Spain (brought by the Moors) from France to the north. Since the 17th century, asparagus in France and some other Western European countries again raised.
In the Netherlands since the 19th century, more widely grown asparagus. The oldest surviving area is around Bergen op Zoom, but since the First World War in North-Limburg the main production area for asparagus. Asparagus auction is Grubbenvorst of the center.In recent decades the crop in other parts of the country (for example, Twente and Groningen) penetrated. Much of the asparagus grown in the Netherlands is exported to Germany. In 2003 in Woerden a knife found with the image of an asparagus, so it is assumed that all the asparagus in the Netherlands in Roman times was eaten.In Belgium, asparagus grown in the area around Mechelen and the region around Bornem Puurs (Kalfort) and provides a limited harvest. Especially Kalfort here is very famous for. Hence celebrations as’ asparagus roll “in late August, and” aspuurge ‘in the’ Forest Coolhem “in Kalfort. The asparagus grows wild even today in some European regions such as Poland.

Some quotes on the scented asparagus
Not only people differ in their ability metabolic product of asparagus can be observed, but their assessment. Asparagus cause a nasty and unpleasant odor in the urine, as everyone knows.– Louis Lemmers, treatise off all sorts of foods, 1702

… All night after a dinner where I had eaten asparagus, they played (lyrical and coarse here in their antics as the fairies in Shakespeare’s Dream), she transformed it into a vase my chamber pot filled with fragrant perfume. Marcel Proust, A la recherche du temps Peru, 1913

Cultivation
The asparagus is a perennial plant, 5 to 7 years in a row on the same field grown. The aboveground plant with woody stems and branches die off in autumn, but the underground parts overwinter and form new shoots in spring. These are as they are still underground cut and sold like vegetables. These are the white asparagus. If the stems are above the ground, they fade to green. These are the green asparagus. For the white asparagus the soil around the plant about two feet raised so that the shoot its way uphill to search for the light, and the shoot can be harvested before they reach the surface. Asparagus fields are often covered with plastic. This has the dual purpose of heating the soil so the plant grows quickly and produces greater yields, and to avoid the headlines will fade.
Asparagusknife
Designed to asparagus deep underground to cut off. The stainless steel blade is serrated on the tip to the right to cut asparagus.Comfortable wooden handle that fits perfectly into the palm. White asparagus is harvested with a asparagusknife. Asparagus are cultivated on raised beds the stems are cut deep in the ground just before they come above ground. This is possible with the asparagusknife, without damage to the developed, or not fully developed, neighboring stem. Total length of the asparagusknife (handle + blade): approx 45cm.  It has a 14 cm long wooden handle with a leather hanging.

Asparagus Season
The asparagus season is relatively short, about two months in the Netherlands. The first  asparagus show their  heads in the spring (depending on the temperatures in February or early March). Traditionally, the harvest is from the second Thursday of April until June 24 (St. John). After this the plant is left alone, so ti has the time to grow, so that new energy is gained for the following year. Green asparagus grow above the soil and are harvest when high enof.
Quality classes
Asparagus are divided into classes depending on the thickness and beauty. In terms of thickness, the AA-size (20-28 mm) considered optimal, but also the A (16-20 mm), B (12-16 mm) and AAA (> 28 mm) sizes, if the asparagus more beautiful is the highest grade counted. To be superior in quality to be applied, an asparagus straight, long enough, have no discoloration to the head, not an open cup, not hollow, contain no damage, no rust (brown spots) and having a good regular appearance have.Dutch white asparagus bear a label since 2006. This blue label, with Dutch flag ensures that the shoots of Dutch origin, and is, thus far, only the higher (AA-) ranges used.Compared to other vegetables asparagus very expensive, the price is highly dependent on the weather. This is because the crop is very labor-intensive: each stem should be separately identified on the ground and then underground by hand to the right length to be cut.
AAA -> than 28 mm
AA – between 20 to 28 mm
A – between 16 and 20 mm
B – 12 to 16 mm (asparagus soup)


Preserve
As fresh as possible !
Asparagus are perishable, the quality is quickly deteriorating. They keep best if grown in a wet cloth and wrap in the refrigerator to store groentenvak, preferably at 2 ° C.
Asparagus smell
Several hours after consuming fresh asparagus, the urine in approximately 45% of people a peculiar odor. This is because the sulfur-containing substances in the body after eating asparagus in rapidly converted into volatile sulfur compounds. Some biochemists believe that conversion takes place at every asparagus eater, but not everyone can smell sulfur air as well. Others think the ability to produce urine asparagus with some of the missing people. In any case, that would be autosomal dominant inheritance [1].The substances in question are methaanethiol, dimethyl sulphide, dimethyl, bis (methylthio) methane, dimethyl sulfoxide and dimethylsulfon. This is demonstrated by gas chromatography. The concentrations in the air over asparagus urine of these chemicals is more than 1000 fold. These substances are not in cooked asparagus, because they evaporate quickly. Probably asparagusinezuur the precursor of these substances in the human body. This substance is effective against nematodes in young asparagus shoots.

Nutritional value per 100 grams
88 kJ  21 kcal  Protein 2 g   Carbohydrate 10 mg
Calcium 20 mg  Iron 1 mg  Sodium 5 mg  Vitamin C 20 mg

Recipes

White asparagus

Poached asparagus with shrimp mousseline.
(8 pers.) Chef JL

Ingredients :

  • 4 to 6 shoots per person up to AA
  • 250 g butter
  • 8 eggs ½ l
  • cream
  • 700 g prawns
  • chive
  • brioche bread sliced

Preparation:

  • Peel (eplucher) the shrimps, keep the shells separately, set the shrimps cold until the last minute.
  • Cook the shells in cream on low heat, don’t let boil the cream  too thick.
  • Peel (peler) the asparagus on a cutting board, then they have more support and they are less easily broken, remove the last 4 to 5 cm from the end of the asparagus ( the woodlike end), place the asparagus in a bowl with lightly salted cold water.
  • Put the butter on the side of the stove and let it slowly melt = clarified butter. (Beurre clarifiè)
  • Put the egg yolks in a Sauteuse, add a little cold water and stir well with a whisk.
  • Put  the asparagus on the stove and bring to  boil (bouillir), on the boiling point you take the asparagus from the heat and allow them 20 minutes poaching  in their juice (blanchir).
  • Beat the egg yolks to a creamy mass (cheerfully), until a nice bonding, however, keep the temperature in the eye, too hot, the eggs are baking, when the masses will rise above 85 ° is looking out to avoid this.
  • Where the bottom of the pan is visible, and the sauce separately, then it is only the time you radiating the melted butter to add, please note the butter is not hot, otherwise the sauce will curdle also , mix the butter is so good that she is a pretty homogeneous with foamy mass.
  • Pass the shell cream through a fine sieve (passer au CHINOIS) and collect the cream, boil the cream for a bit to the right thickness (réduire), take away from the heat and spoon the cream in the  mousseline sauce.

Cut the brioche bread into  slices of just over an inch, remove the crusts from the bread and then cut into strips just over an inch; fry the sticks until golden brown on all sides in a dry anti-stick pan.
Finish:

  • Remove the asparagus from the poaching juice and let them drain (egoutter) on a clean towel.
  • Arrange them nicely on a plate and cover (Napper) them with shrimp mousseline, let the heads of the asparagus free, sprinkle the sauce with peeled shrimps, garnish with chives and  brioche bread croutons.

Green asparagus

Carpaccio of duck breast with garam masala, panna cotta of ceps with truffle oil, asparagus with a crema di barba forte.
Chef JL
Ingredients:

  • duck breast,
  • garam masala,
  • Cream
  • cepes,
  • truffle oil
  • gelatine,
  • Green asparagus
  • sunflower oil
  • pepper, salt,
  • Mayonnaise,
  • Greek yogurt,
  • horseradish paste,
  • Melba Toast,
  • chives,
  • butter.
  • Maldon sea salt.
    Preparation:
  • Dispose of the duck of his skin, put him  in garam masala , make a lengthwise incision on the skinside.
  • Fold the cut side against each other, role in a film Allu.
  • Tighten firmly put in  refrigeration or freezer.
  • Warm the cream with the cepes (mushrooms) and a little salt in the Thermomix,
  • Leave for a few minutes to boiling point, mix all fine, Pas through a fine sieve, decorate with truffle oil and seasoning.
  • Add the soaked gelatine leaves to it, stir and divide in to shapes, cool in the refrigerator.
  • Heat some sunflower oil with less beautiful pieces ceps and herbs, mix a while.
  • Cut the asparagus and poach in salted water, let them cool istantly in cold water, pat gently dry.
  • Mix the mayonnaise with some Greek yogurt and horseradish paste to taste, taste with some sea salt.
  • Cut thin slices of bread with a meat slicer, cut them to the desired shape, fry shortly in hot oil.Dip the toast briefly in the soft butter, next dip in the chives
  • Cut the duck breast into capriccio  (very thinly), arrange on a plate, just brush with cep oil and some Maldon sea salt to sprinkle.
  • Unmold the panna cotta, arrange on a plate, put a little cep oil to shine.
  • Arrange the asparagus with crema di barba forte (horseradish). Garnish with the crisp toast.
    enjoye!

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