that’s the whole point….


Aside from forgetting the names of people, things, places and events during conversations, which failing I have decided is probably a good thing, my memory is as good as the gear box in a rarely used classic car; hard to start from cold, but when running will purr along sweetly as long as bursts of acceleration are kept to a minimum. It was during a recent outing that my memory reminded me how disappointing have been my experiences of eating asparagus in restaurants as opposed to those at my own, or a good friend’s, table. I am no longer a denizen of restaurants, good or bad, which is just as well considering how curmudgeonly and intolerant I have become with the passing of time, but asparagus, to my mind, is one of those foods that is not well suited the disciplines of smart restauration. Asparagus, like fresh crab, is the ultimate fast food and so demands the messiness and lack of order that resonates with Woody Allen’s “Is sex dirty” “Only when it’s being done right” approach which is often, in my experience, not as welcome as one would imagine in the hushed lairs of the gastro gnomes or, equally, in the cool eateries of foodie hipsters. Eating food such as this needs to be enjoyed without restraint, with bare hands and as often as the season allows. There is no question that green asparagus is the least troublesome to prepare and therefore the quickest to get onto a plate….take the head of a spear in one hand and the base in the other and gently bend the spear until it snaps,  conveniently at the junction between the woody base and the soft green flesh of the spear, and then plunge them into a shallow pan of boiling, salted water. They cook very quickly and to judge their readiness prick the flesh just below the tip with a sharp pointed knife which should enter easily but the flesh should still have a firm feel to it. Once cooked, take them out and drain them. If you’re planning to eat them later, plunge them into iced water to stop the cooking and wrap them up in a clean linen tea towel… my case, I want to eat them now so they go straight onto a plate. My preferred accompaniment is the yolks of good eggs, hard boiled,  mixed roughly with salt, black pepper and olive oil. Drink a dry Muscat from the Languedoc or, as we’re in the Pays de Loire, a Sancerre, Pouilly-Fumé, Chevernay or nearly any of the Sauvignons from the Loire.

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 2018, asparagus, Boiled eggs, Cooking, Digital photography, Drinks, food, Food and Photography, Food photographer, France, Hard boiled eggs, Humour, Memory, Photography, photography course, Photography holiday, Sancerre, Seasons, Uncategorized, Wine, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

30 Responses to that’s the whole point….

  1. Misky says:

    Quite so. I like mine with a bit of floppy mayonnaise.

  2. Mad Dog says:

    I was intending to buy a stick, so that as my memory fades and I become more bad tempered, I can waive the stick around while I rant abut the state of afternoon telly in my care home!
    Hopefully I won’t get that far gone.
    Great picture, as always!

  3. jmcheney says:

    When I grew asparagus, I couldn’t stop eating them raw in the garden. Many a stalk never made it in to the pot. I do love to eat with my fingers & butter dripping down my chin though, probably best alone.

  4. Sally says:

    There’s country pub between my home town of Cheltenham and the Vale of Evesham (famous for its asparagus) that only serves bit platefuls of the stuff, freshly cooked, dripping in butter during the season. Cutlery optional.

  5. Dripping and dipping in melted butter or home made mayonnaise for me please…beautiful, beautiful shot.

  6. Ardys says:

    My Aunt taught me some important lessons about food in my early life, but as a middle aged adult I visited her and at her bidding prepared the fresh asparagus for cooking. As I applied the very method you described, she scolded me for ‘wasting’ so much of the asparagus. She did not seem convinced when I explained to her the method and reason behind it. I still do it anyway 🙂 Lovely photo.

  7. Eha says:

    *laughter* So enjoyed the perfection of that first sentence . . . .so enjoyed the Woody Allen ‘comment’ . . . and do like the ‘Polonaise’ method of eating asparagus best of all also . . . loved the post . . .

  8. My asparagus will be a while yet – still very cold – but i do look forward to eating some with the boiled egg yolk – I think you have mentioned this before and I did not really clock it. I look forward to asparagus season.. and I do agree about the hands – i also love raw asparagus while I am picking – it is marvellous.. c

    • Eha says:

      Celi – the simplest and most wonderful way of eating the precious vegetable, whether green or white – look at Mr Google – eggs, crumbs, salt and parsley- magic !!

    • I’ve never eaten raw asparagus….I’m guessing the ideal way is your way….while you’re picking it. Hope the weather warms up…it’s just starting to be a bit better here.

  9. I must be an odd soul, but then again I am from the other end of the earth, as I cook Asparagus regularly at home. As you allude to, it really isn’t that hard ….bend, snap, quick cook & refresh. Great with melted & salt, grated hard-boiled eggs (and salt) or in a lovely tart/quiche…. just love them.

  10. Ah, nothing worse than a limp asparagus. Well limp anything really. The Woody Allen quote is true and hilarious!

  11. ChgoJohn says:

    I’ve ot ordered asparagus from a restaurant in ages. The few times it’s been served as an accompaniment have done nothing to make me reconsider. Best at home so that when the butter drips onto my shirt, there’s no one to point out the obvious.

  12. No question about that, John… the mental picture of that…messy eating at its best:)

  13. Food after my own heart!! 🙂

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