White asparagus with sauce hollandaise served with new potatoes and cooked ham, the most popular German white asparagus recipe.
German White Asparagus Recipe
A luxurious dish of white asparagus with sauce hollandaise, this recipe celebrates its short season in Germany.
This is a spring produce I happily anticipate every year. I know one could buy it out of season from time to time, but to tell you the truth I never did, I only eat it when in season, I don't even crave it in winter or autumn.
And when I do buy it, I always try to buy our local produce, maybe a bit more expensive, but oh, so much more delicious!!
There are these funny little cabins appearing all around Germany during this time of the year, in the form of a huge strawberry, and that is where we can buy local asparagus and, a few weeks later, strawberries. Later on in summer, other kinds of berries as well. All from the fields in the region.
Compared to other countries where green asparagus seems to be the more popular sort, in Germany white asparagus enjoys a higher position. And white asparagus with sauce hollandaise is THE recipe!
Differences between white and green asparagus
- The main difference between them lies in the way of cultivating it. The white one grows under the ground, the soil is kept mounded around the stalks. This way there is no light reaching the plant and that results in the white color.
- Exactly the opposite happens with the green sort, there is no dirt covering the plant, it grows in the sun and that allows it to produce the substances needed for the photosynthesis, making it green.
- The white plant has a more delicate taste, that is why a white sauce for asparagus is the best addition to it.
- But otherwise don't worry too much about the color, you can swap one sort for the other in most recipes, just think about adjusting the cooking time accordingly.
- There is also a difference in the way of cleaning and cooking the two sorts of the vegetable.
- I remove the lower end of both kinds before cooking, they are rather woody.
- The white one also needs to be peeled, otherwise, it would be tender on the inside, but the rough peel will make it difficult for you to even cut the stalk.
- Use a vegetable peeler for this purpose.
- Lay the stalk on the working surface and peel it in that position to avoid breaking the stalk.
- Start peeling underneath its head.
- The green spears need no peeling.
- The white kind needs between 15 and 20 minutes of cooking time, according to how thick the stalks are.
- Green one doesn't need quite so much, it is mostly ready after about 8-10 minutes, the green stalks are always thinner than the white ones.
- When it comes to the green sort make sure to check for doneness before the indicated cooking time is reached, as it can be very thin (and short) sometimes, this kind will need an even shorter cooking time.
- I never throw away the tough ends or the peel, I always use them to make broth, which is a delicate yet wonderfully aromatic broth great to use for soups or risotto.
- For this purpose, gather the peel and tough ends from 1 to 2 kg/ 2.2 to 4-4 oz asparagus, either white or green or a mixture.
- Cook them for 20 minutes in water with 1-2 tablespoons butter, some salt and some lemon juice.
- Strain the liquid and keep it in bottles in the fridge for about 1 week or freeze it.
- This is one of the best sauces I've ever made and eaten, I know there is quite a lot of butter in it, but you have to try it if it is only once a year.
- It is so delicate and velvety and out of this world, I am awed every time. And there is no comparison to the stuff you can buy already made!!!!
Basic Roasted Green Asparagus with Tomatoes and Feta
Puff Pastry Asparagus with Mayonnaise
Creamy Asparagus Pea Risotto with Dill
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White Asparagus with Sauce Hollandaise (German Asparagus)
- 2 kg/ 4.4 lbs white asparagus See note
- 1 tablespoon fine sea salt
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- Sauce hollandaise:
- 1 shallot
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 5 white peppercorns
- 5 tablespoons water
- 250 g/ 8.8 oz/ 2 sticks + 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 3 egg yolks
- fine sea salt
- some fresh lemon juice
- Bring a very large pot of water to a boil.
- In the meantime, wash the asparagus, remove the lower, woody ends and peel the stalks with a vegetable peeler, starting underneath the head of the asparagus. In case of using green asparagus, remove the lower ends, there is no need to peel.
- Add the salt, 1 tablespoon butter, and sugar to the boiling water. Place the asparagus in the pot, cover, and lower the heat. Cook the white asparagus for about 16 to 20 minutes, depending on thickness and personal taste (I cooked mine for 16 minutes, I like it to still have a bit of a bite) and the green asparagus for about 10 minutes, but it really depends on its size. Thin asparagus won't need that long.
- Remove the asparagus from the water and let drain very well. Place it on kitchen towels to make sure the water is absorbed thoroughly.
- Start melting the cubed butter in a small pan on a very low flame, the butter should not get too hot.
- In the meantime, chop the shallot very finely and place it in a small pan together with the vinegar, crushed peppercorns, and 5 tablespoons water. Bring to a boil and allow to reduce for about 3 to 5 minutes. Sieve through a fine-meshed sieve and catch the liquid in a small metallic bowl that you can use for the bain-marie. Discard the shallot and the peppercorns.
- Fill a pan about halfway with water. The pan should have a size that will allow the metallic bowl with the egg yolks to sit on top of it. Heat the water but don't allow it to boil.
- Add the egg yolks to the vinegar reduction. Place the bowl with the shallot and egg yolks on top of the bain-marie (make sure it doesn't touch the water) and whisk thoroughly until the sauce thickens (I use a hand-held mixer, it goes quicker than with a normal whisk). Remove the metallic bowl with the eggs from the bain-marie.
- Start adding the warm butter to the egg yolks very very slowly, while whisking all the time, I use the normal whisk now.
- Adjust the taste with some salt and a few drops of lemon juice. Serve immediately with the asparagus, boiled new potatoes, and cooked ham.
Keith @ How's it Lookin? says
Looks so good. I never had white asparagus, thanks for the idea
Thank you, Keith. 🙂
Dawn - Girl Heart Food says
I love both asparagus and hollandaise sauce! I didn't know that white asparagus required a longer cooking time than green. I most often get green asparagus around here, but both are lovely. Great recipe 🙂
Thank you, Dawn, nice of you to stop by. White asparagus is normally thicker than the green one and the peel is rougher, that's why it needs a longer cooking time.
This looks amazing! What a treat for when asparagus is in season. I have never cooked white asparagus at home; time to look for it! Thanks for the inspiration.
I hope you find the white asparagus, it tastes really nice, especially with sauce hollandaise. 🙂
Chris Scheuer says
I am jealous of that white asparagus. I was in Germany one year at Spargelfest time and it was amazing. Lots of restaurants around Heidelberg had Spargelspeise where everything on the menu was with asparagus. I'll never forget it and haven't had asparagus that wonderful since. Your sauce looks amazing. I wish I was having dinner at your house Adina 🙂
I've never been to a Spargelfest, but I'd love too. Maybe when the children are older, they would only nag now if there was only asparagus on the menu... 🙂 You can visit us anytime you are in Germany again and we can have lots of asparagus if the season fits. 🙂
Very confused about the butter- you don’t really specify how much butter is used where. Also, you said to add egg yolks to that butter/vinegar shallot mixture and then add butter to it once it’s cooking? So confused
Of course I do. The butter amounts are specified in the ingredient list, clearly 1 tablespoon for cooking the asparagus and the 250 g for the sauce, there are 2 ingredient sections to make it easier.
I never said you have to mix butter and vinegar and then add egg yolks and also there is nowhere written to add butter once it's cooking. You melt the butter for the sauce and leave it to cool slightly while you make the rest. In the meantime, you cook the shallots and vinegar in another pot. You sieve this vinegar reduction into a bowl and whisk with the egg yolks on bain marie until it thickens. Remove from heat and NOW slowly whisk in the butter you melted before.
I had the pleasure of eating this wonderful meal as I was visiting a friend in Germany a few springs ago. Her mother prepared it for us. Every few months I think of this meal! I am excited to make it! Thank you for sharing ☺️
Hi Zara. Thank you for your comment. Let me know if you liked it.