White Asparagus

Oui, Je manges des asperges blanches!!

Yes, I eat white asparagus!  

When we think of asparagus we think of typical green asparagus that we buy at the grocery store, but asparagus in Europe can be green, purple and WHITE.

Image result for images of white asparagus being harvested

In European cultures, in particular France, Spain, Netherlands, Switzerland and especially Germany–White Asparagus is consumed heavily.

On the seasonal food calendar in France, the front end of summer on through early September is a high point for asparagus.  Here, bunches and bunches of asparagus at the height of the French market season.

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Growing white asparagus is more labor intensive than growing green asparagus.  White asparagus is the same as green asparagus, but grown without daylight. Denying the spears daylight as they grow prevents photosynthesis from taking place and this is the process that produces the green coloring in plants.

The plants are grown in the dark by piling soil on top Image result for images of white asparagus being harvestedof the spears as they appear and then cutting them well below the surface with a special knife before they grow through the soil into the daylight.Image result for images of white asparagus being harvested

Asparagus that is allowed to grow up and through the top of the soil and receive sun, of course are green because of photosynthesis–as the asparagus looks below.asparagus

White asparagus in particularly is snatched up for delicate dishes.  Below is a typical French asparagus recipe that is easy to try AND delicious.

Asparagus with vinaigrette & poached egg (serves 4)Asperge et vinaigrette

For the vinaigrette:

5 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp mustard
1-2 garlic cloves, ground
1 & 1/2 tsp walnut vinegar (alternatively, you can use wine vinegar)
Salt & pepper – for seasoning
Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl.  Stir until the vinaigrette is smooth.

For the poached eggs:

4-6 eggs
1 tbsp white vinegar
1/2 tsp salt

In a shallow pan of boiling water, add 2 tsp of vinegar. Prepare your eggs by breaking them into little cups/pots so it’s easier to pour into the boiling water. When the water is boiling, pour in the eggs in different areas (maximum four at a time – or the water temperature will get cooler). Leave them alone, cover with a lid for 3 minutes, then check if they need a bit of ‘pushing and shoving’ to make their form rounder. You can use a large slotted spoon for this. Depending on how well you like your eggs cooked, 3 minutes should complete the task. When ready spoon each egg at a time onto a plate. Set aside.

For the asparagus:

A bunch of asparagus, depending on size count 4-6 asparagus per person.
A handful of chives (chopped finely)

Wash the asparagus under cool running water and trim away the bottom 1/3 of the stalk. With a vegetable peeler, peel off the rough part (leave the tip intact).

Fill a medium to large saucepan with water, about half way to the top. Add salt and bring to a boil. Add the asparagus and reduce heat slightly – cook for 10 minutes, or until crisp and tender, depending on thickness of asparagus. Drain and place on a serving plate. Place poached egg on top, drizzle with vinaigrette and sprinkle with chives.

A POPULAR DISH

In Europe, & France for sure, white asparagus gets just as much attention as the green variety. You’ll see it on restaurant menus steamed and served with hollandaise sauce, a poached egg and chives.Related image

Asparagus is so abundant in France and other places in Europe – an asparagus majolica plate to serve it on would not be uncommon.  Here are some of these beautiful type plates found at our French culinary store, Aubergine Antiques.

So, EAT MORE ASPARAGUS: 5 good reasons

It’s loaded with nutrients, it can help fight cancer, it’s packed with antioxidants, it’s a brain booster and it’s a natural diuretic!!

 

**special thanks to umami mart and mimi thorisson of medoc france, & pinterest for information 

Au Revoir!  A La Prochaine!!

A French Summer Soup

Soupe Au Pistou

A good-for-you French stew

Low fat, flavorful — this soup will bowl you over. In France, where foie gras rules, this soup stands out: It’s low fat and vegetarian.

soupe au pistou recipe

This summer soup is a Provençal dish that is iconic for France.  It is made up of cubed vegetables with a tablespoon of pistou on top.  Pistou means “pounded” — that is, pound together the ingredients: garlic, fresh basil and olive oil….much like pesto as we know it here in the U.S.

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CHEESES OF FRANCE

Fromage

Un reino de otro mundo en las maravillosas fromageries de la capital francesa: Getting to know French cheeses: 1st – GENUINE Brie

France is famously known for having more cheeses than there are days in the year. Some are very widespread and available in every supermarket, some are regionally specific, and others are local to a village or community only.

From east to west, from north to south, France’s diverse cuisine has delighted more than one curious palate. One element of French cooking exists above all others as the crème de la crème of French gastronomy: cheese.  In France, at meal time, the cheese course is typically served after the main course and before dessert and is called the plateau de fromage.

These are the French cheeses you have to taste at least once in your life.

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FRENCH “Trencher” DOUGH BOWLS

The Wonderful French Dough Bowl

When it comes to Christmas, the first thing we think of is home and all the smells that associate us to our home and the holidays.  Part of those familiar smells might just be the baking of bread.

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Bakery Bread in France

La Boulangerie – The Bakery

Baguette

The French word for bread is pain, pronounced pan.

Pain Baguette – The most well-known of French breads. A baguette is what most people mean when they ask for French bread.  Breakfast in many French homes without a baguette is hardly breakfast; croissants and the sweeter breads are typically saved for the weekend.

Bread in France. How it is different?Le Grenier à Pain. (Paris, France) bread and pastry like no other you've ever tasted...:

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