Spring is Here and So is Asparagus!

The following article is excerpted from Healthy Aging® Magazine. To continue reading this article and more like it, log in or subscribe to Healthy Aging® Magazine, the lifestyle magazine that is all about following your passion and what you can do rather than what you can’t.
Edouard Manet Bunch of Asparagus

Edouard Manet Bunch of Asparagus wikicommons

Hark the herald spring. It’s asparagus season!

A sure sign that the season of renewal has arrived is annually announced by the plethora of asparagus appearing in the markets.

Green, purple, white—the glorious asparagus is here.

Sing the virtues of asparagus and read on to be inspired for a celebration of asparagus by following “asparagus routes” in Germany.

Baden Asparagus Route, Germany

Follow the Asparagus Trail

What better way to learn more about asparagus while visiting amazing countryside than to visit Germany during this season to follow an asparagus trail?

Asparagus has been grown and celebrated in Germany since the 1500s. In the beginning, it was planted exclusively for the royal and ducal Baden-Wurttemberg courts. Known in German as spargel, asparagus earned the nicknames “royal vegetable” and “white gold.”

For the active traveler, spargel provides a unique theme for a spring vacation. Pack your bicycle and head to the asparagus source. To follow an “Asparagus Route” by bicycle, pick Germany. There is no better place for this adventure.

To read all about how to follow the asparagus routes in Germany see the full article in Healthy Aging Magazine.

Preparing Asparagus

The most delicious and easiest way to prepare asparagus is either to poach or pan roast it. A fabulous new cookbook, Ruffage: A Practical Guide to Vegetables, by chef Abra Berens was published this spring with several asparagus recipes for you to try.

This how-to cookbook offers techniques and cooking methods for vegetables. The book is a wonderful reference for preparing all types of vegetables, including asparagus. With over 300 recipes and 140 photographs, this cookbook will be a welcome addition to your library.

Asparagus Stalks with Anchovy-Caper Butter and Fresh Herbs

Makes 4 servings

Neutral oil
2 bunches asparagus, about 2 lbs.
3 tablespoons anchovy-caper butter
Crunchy salt
1 cup mixed tender herbs (parsley, lemon thyme, chives, chervil, etc.), roughly chopped
My mother was a wonderful cook, mastering everything from spit-roasted woodcock to the perfect cream sauce. But she cooked asparagus all to hell.

The asparagus of my childhood was microwaved until it turned the color of 1970s bathroom tiles—and was simultaneously limp and stringy—naturally I looked askance at any mention of asparagus on a menu. The first bright green, just-cooked, and still-crisp stalks, rolled in butter and salt, stole my heart; I’ve never been the same since.

The key to a good pan roast is to give it the time and space to cook. Overcrowding the pan will steam the vegetable or at least make it cook unevenly. Caramelization won’t happen if you insist on stirring every 5 seconds.

Trust yourself and your pan. Allow it to brown a bit, then give it one good turn to sear the other side. Transfer to a plate, garnish, and eat.

Ruffage cookbookHeat oil in a skillet over high heat until just about smoking. Add the asparagus so that they all lie in a single layer. Allow the asparagus to get a good sear on one side. Roll the spears over and brown the other side. Turn off the heat. Add the butter and let it melt. Roll the stalks in the butter until coated.

Serve sprinkled with crunchy salt and chopped herbs.

Reprinted with permission from Ruffage: A Practical Guide to Vegetables, by Abra Berens and published by Chronicle Books, 2019

The above article is excerpted from Healthy Aging® Magazine. Like to see more recipes and read more about The Asparagus Trail? Log in or subscribe to Healthy Aging® Magazine, the lifestyle magazine that is all about following your passion and what you can do rather than what you can’t.

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