the wild bunch take a bath…

asparagus2_0004

I could not help but notice the very human characteristics being displayed by this particular bunch. It is clear to me that there is leader, head and shoulders above the others, who is holding court to this sycophantic bunch of young shoots. The majority gaze adoringly at his bowed, patrician head as he dispenses wisdom, hanging on his every word and, indeed, around his neck. However, as in life, it is clear that all is not sweetness and light. Two dissidents have turned their backs on Caesar Asparagus, the Brutus and Cassius of the bunch. Their plotting will be in vain as fate, which role I am playing in this drama having assumed the form of a brightly coloured rubber band, a far cry from Zeus’ swan or shower of gold but more practical in a kitchen, has bound them irrevocably together in readiness for a hot communal bath which could not be more apposite for such a classical bunch.

adj_asparagus_cooker_0017

Bunches of green asparagus, tagged with outrageous prices,  have already begun to appear in the shops here. The green variety seems to be a rarity in the Vendée as the appetite for white and violette asparagus is enormous. To my mind, green asparagus is at its best when served in the simplest way. An asparagus cooker is not an essential piece of kit, but it does do the job well, as the base of each spear is cooked in a bath of boiling water whilst the stem and tip are cooked by steam. Such asparagus should be served with melted butter and little more. I do have a taste for another dressing which is made by beating together hard boiled egg yolks, olive oil and seasoning. Just delicious.

As I mentioned before, white asparagus is very popular here which means it is readily available and much cheaper than its green brethren. White asparagus takes a good deal longer to cook than the green variety and, if it is not cooked sufficiently, is not worth eating at all. The violette tipped variety behaves in a similar way as far as cooking time is concerned but is slightly finer and doesn’t need to be peeled. I particularly enjoy this with hot, herbed butter and prosciutto.

asparagus_prosciutto

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About Food,Photography & France

Photographer and film maker living in France. After a long career in London, my wife and I have settled in the Vendee, where we run residential digital photography courses with a strong gastronomic flavour.
This entry was posted in 2014, asparagus, Cooking, Digital photography, Eggs, food, Food and Photography, Food photographer, France, Hard boiled eggs, Photography, photography course, Uncategorized, Vegetables, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

60 Responses to the wild bunch take a bath…

  1. cecilia says:

    Oh asparagus.. divine.. yours have great personality, ours is still under snow, with another 5 inches expected.. but all is not lost.. Is IT!? No, because this sauce with the hardboiled yolk and oil, this is very intriguing..bears some research.. c

  2. Mad Dog says:

    Already! I’m jealous, there won’t be any here for at least a month 😉

  3. margaret21 says:

    I’ll never be integrated enough to eat white asparagus. I’ve given it my best shot, but just…. no. I too go for the simple butter dressing, but will definitely give your egg and oil one a go

  4. ChgoJohn says:

    First artichokes and now asparagus. This is so unfair! Ours are still weeks away. I only hope they’ll look as good as yours do when they finally do arrive.
    (Pssst. Don’t tell Celi but the forecast is now for 8 inches of snow to begin falling after midnight. Ugh!)

  5. Amanda says:

    What a beautiful observation about the bunch. I actually haven’t had the white ones and see them everywhere now. I thought they might be good, but now I see I would probably prefer the green ones. We are still waiting here in NYC.

  6. Wow, ‘hot herbed butter and prosciutto’ sounds absolutely fantastic! I found it interesting that the green asparagus sold here [and its the only variety that I have seen] often has those same blue rubber bands around it as in your photo, just another sign of the ‘flattening of the earth.’
    The last time I was in Berlin, white asparagus was in season and I enjoyed several evenings sitting outside some cafe/bar having a serving of asparagus soup, along with a good beer.

  7. It is coming into asparagus season, isn’t it? I can never get enough spears. They are fantastic. Also, isn’t that colour change brilliant? Simply a vibrant green. Excellent work, Roger!

  8. Wonderful prose as usual – you are just so imaginative. And the photos are quite simply stunning. I really like oven roasting the spears once they get a bit thicker, then drizzling with EVOO and a scattering over a few shavings of Parmesan…perfect spring lunch.

  9. Sorry, but it is way too early for asparagus, the heralding of Spring and the promise of the summer to follow that. I still have two weeks of skiing to do before heading back to London, and I want snow. Not reminders of things that grow when the temperatures are warmer and the birds and the bees start to do their thing.
    I am archiving all your posts until mid-April, when skiing finished for the year, I can read them and revel in the lushness of your asparagus and other lovely things that grow in the sunshine; things that you will I hope, photograph and show to your loyal Pavlovian-dog blog followers.

  10. Good. It’s that time of year.

  11. looks beautiful. I have some prosciutto in the fridge – I might just try that.

  12. Stunning and delicious – the perfect combination!

  13. Ah, asparagus. One of my very favorite things. (As I sit here and wait for Roy to bring me food from Sonic. Blah.)

  14. Vicki says:

    Looks delicious with the proscuitto & butter.

    White asparagus is wickedly expensive here, but in season, the green is ok to buy. My Mother always bought tinned asparagus, but I wouldn’t touch ‘tinned’ with a barge pole – has to be fresh & perfectly cooked for me.

    Never thought to pair it with Proscuitto (which is also wickedly expensive in Australia, but I do buy it for a ‘treat’ occasionally).

  15. Eha says:

    Well, we do eat asparagus the same way, tho’ I usually steam mine – prefer green to white: remember all the years I had to go to Hannover Trade Fair in the spring and practically lived on asparagus and Westphalian ham . . . always white in Northern Germany! Also remembering childhood days when brown butter or a ‘Polonaise’ mixture rather akin your hardboiled eggs and oil were the requisite accompaniments. Oh absolutely love your intriductory story, but then I always have 🙂 !

    • The white asparagus thing is big here, which surprised me as I imagined the French would be into the green. It must be a regional thing, or cheapness of the white which seems more believable. The French peasant has very short arms and very deep pockets:)

  16. Michelle says:

    Bring on spring!

  17. As always, wonderful pictures, and I enjoyed the tale of the leader. I never thought to team asparagus with prosciutto. Of course anything is better with prosciutto as its partner. As for the asparagus cooker, I have one and use it always, but it never occurred to be to keep them bound with the rubber band when steaming; as a result they flop all around and my reaction has been, until now, why bother. Thanks for the idea.

  18. *fangirl moment as usual* – divine photos. The composition of that last shot … le sigh …
    I’ve noted the egg white recipe and we will have it this weekend with some fresh green from the Saturday market. There are advantages to being in Florida for the winter even though it’s not where I truly wish to be.

  19. I love asparagus, but the white stuff seems just wrong! and as much as I love asparagus I enjoy the imagination and creativity you bring here to your blog and share with us. I always leave here with a smile in my heart. thank you for that.

  20. I love asparagus, but the white stuff seems just wrong! and as much as I love asparagus I enjoy the imagination and creativity you bring here to your blog and share with us. I always leave here with a smile in my heart. thank you for that.

  21. I love asparagus, but the white stuff seems just wrong! and as much as I love asparagus I enjoy the imagination and creativity you bring here to your blog and share with us. I always leave here with a smile in my heart. thank you for that.

  22. and silly wordpress posted my comment three times? oh please hit delete.

  23. Beautiful shots.
    Not a fan of white asparagus at all, but I love the other roasted with some olive oil, salt and pepper.

  24. Karen says:

    Only you could write about the personalities of a bunch of asparagus…love it. Green asparagus is affordable here but white is double the price.

  25. I love asparagus season and we are lucky to usually arrive in Europe when asparagus is plentiful and cheap. I much prefer the green variety as well. Love the first photo Roger 🙂

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