I hear many people shy away from one of my favorite foods. Asparagus. This is probably one of the best tasting vegetables of all time. An earthy crunch, beautiful green, and smelly pee. Let’s face it, we all know that Asparagus no friend in the bathroom, but the food is so good for you it is hard to pass it up. So I will be telling you how to grow this, and how to make this so everyone you ever meet will want this vegetable for the rest of their life. At the end of the post I have included my own personal Hollandaise recipe. You honestly will have never had anything this good. Hollandaise is a creamy, and rich sauce that goes perfectly with Asparagus.
Care and Growing.
The first thing you need to know, is that Asparagus takes three years before it is ready to eat! That is a long time to stay dedicated to this vegetable. However this guy is a tank. Asparagus will grow pretty much no matter what. You can start Asparagus from a seed, but it is easier to get plants that are already growing. A year old plant is called a crown, and is the easiest to start with. If you live in a cold region like here in Michigan, plant your Asparagus in the spring. You will need to dig a 12-18 inch hole and put some old manure or old compost in the bottom of the hole to about the half way mark (6-7 inches), with 10-10-10 fertilizer mixed in. Take your crown (year old asparagus plant) and drape the roots over the mixture. Fill the hole back in with dirt, but do so to the point where you have the plant hole a little deeper than the rest of the garden.
For the first year, just leave this guy be. Make sure the soil is still moist, but this plant really you can plant and forget about. Also, make sure that you take any weeds out. In the spring of the second year, any ferns that had grown from the plant, go ahead and cut them down. Give some fertilizer and mulch, and leave alone for another year. Now in the third year, you can cut spears that are 6-8 inches tall, and as thick as your finger.
When you do cut the spears you are going to cut them just below the soil level. And that is pretty much all you need to know on growing this tasty vegetable. Remember make sure that you let the plant mature, and fertilize in the years before it is ready.
Preparing to Eat.
I like to eat the entire asparagus spear. Many people do not, they say the bottoms are too tough and the rest of it is too stringy. I say they are cooking it wrong. So make sure you wash your spears very well, and pat dry them. Next you will need to cut them into about 2-3 inch pieces. The top part is what people really like to eat. So if this is someones first time, or your first time, just eat the top part and make the rest later if they like it. You will need to have a pan getting warm on low-medium heat with a little bit of butter in the pan. You can use oil, but the butter really helps the flavor of this pop. One more thing, my personal recipe for Hollandaise will be at the bottom. This has a lot of butter in it. So be ready.
Once your pan is warm, and your butter is fully melted you know you can throw your spears in the pan. Only put about six in at a time, depending on your pan size. The average sized pan will do six nicely. Now this is the tricky part. You need to take note of the color of the spears. They will start off as a darker green, but over time they will turn a nice vibrant green. When they turn this color they are done. This takes about 4-5 minutes, depending on if you have a coil stove top or fire. My fire stove top I get them done in about 4 minutes. But you need to roll them around and make sure they do not burn on any one side. Once they have that nice vibrant green take them out of the pan, they are done. I suggest if you have not done this before or you feel you are going to ruin some. Just do one at the start. Get it to the tenderness that you think is good, and give it a bite.
* Fun fact. The reason why your pee smells after you eat asparagus is that it contains a chemical compound called mercaptan. When your body breaks this down your pee takes on the strong odor.*
Once your asparagus is ready, drizzle lightly the hollandaise over the spears, and enjoy.
What you need.
1 stick of butter.
2 egg yolks.
1-2 table spoons of fresh lemon juice. (if you want it more tangy add more lemon juice.)
A dash of pepper
A pinch of salt.
1 small sauce pot.
1 small bowl that will fit in the pot to make a small dutch like oven.
Turn a burner on low. And I mean low. If your heat is too high, or you do not stir this enough it will firm up on you. You need low heat. Place your small pot on the burner with water in the pot. Enough to coat the bottom of the bot, but not enough to where it touches the bowl.
Place your bowl in the pot.
Break the stick of butter into small pieces and put that in the bowl.
Wait until all of the butter is fully melted. All of the butter. I mean it. you will know the difference.
While the butter is melting separate your yolks from the whites. Beat the yolks. Once the butter is melted add the yolks to the butter.
Add the lemon juice, pepper, and salt at this time.
Stir for One minute very gently. If you notice the egg is starting to firm up, your heat is too high.
After the minute taste the sauce. You should have a creamy, velvety, tangy and rich sauce. If you want your sauce a little more tangy add just a bit more lemon juice. If you want the sauce more creamy add butter first. If you add too much butter and it is more like water now, add another egg yolk. This is said to be one of the hardest sauces you can make. I say it is the easiest.
Once your sauce is perfect, serve right away. If you let this sauce sit too long on the heat it will firm. If you let it cool, it will firm. Serve right away for the best result.
I hope this helps. If you are having trouble with the hollandaise, or something just is not working out. Let me know. I fully want you to enjoy Asparagus as I have come to know and love it. If you need, I can take pictures of me making the sauce and going step by step. But this is such a winning recipe, that your whole family will love it forever.