In case you forgot, asparagus season is here! The time of year when it starts to feel like spring with all the produce looking extra alive and well. In my opinion, asparagus should only be eaten during the early spring months from April to June. This is when the asparagus is at its peak of quality, fresh and full of flavour.
Asparagus Season in Maastricht
In Maastricht, we have a pretty amazing selection of white and green asparagus that they sell by the kilos in the local market but this year we did not go because of the corona virus lockdown. Still I managed to find a decent bunch of fresh asparagus at the store and I hope you do too.
Here’s a super easy and delicious recipe that is ready in less than 20 minutes.
How to Keep Vegetables Bright Green
Because this recipe is very simple it’s absolutely paramount that you cook the veggies properly in boiling, salted water. As for any green vegetable containing chlorophyll (the green pigment colour in plants) they must always be kept either very hot or very cold to avoid activating the enzyme that turns them grey. This means that if the blanching water is warm instead of boiling hot you will achieve grey, sad looking vegetables instead of beautiful, bright green vegetables.
In restaurants we normally blanch in boiling salted water and “refresh” in ice cold water to quickly bring the temperature of the vegetables down and avoid activating the “greying” enzymes. For this recipe I skip the ice bath method because we will eat the asparagus right away and it’s not necessary to chill and reheat.
When shopping for asparagus try to find big thick stalks that are firm and bright green for the best results.
Here in The Netherlands it’s customary to say “smakelijk eten” which is basically the Dutch way of saying “Bon appetite” 🙂
Asparagus WIth Citrus Mayonaise
- 400 g green asparagus try to pick the fattest ones with a bright green colour
- 1 whole orange
- 1 whole lemon
- 1 tbsp butter
- 3 tbsp mayonaise
- salt and pepper
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Remove the thick woody part at the end of the asparagus with a knife and discard. With a small knife begin to remove the tiny leaves on the stalks. Alternatively, you can peel the stalks of the asparagus with a speed peeler but I think this way looks less nice and removes extra nutrition from the skin.
- Make the citrus mayo by zesting an orange and one lemon into a small bowl with the mayonnaise. Add a squeeze of lemon and a squeeze of orange juice. Season with salt and pepper.
- When the salted water is boiling, add the asparagus and cook until the stalks are tender but still have a little bite to them (al dente). Remove from the water and dry off on a plate with paper towel.
- Immediately after drying the asparagus get a large sauté pan hot and add the butter. Toss the asparagus in the foamy butter and season with sea salt and fresh black pepper. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon and orange juice.
- Serve on a big plate with the citrus mayonnaise just off to the side.