Inspired by the traditional German White Asparagus with ham and hollandaise sauce meal, this version comes with a buckwheat crepe and some extra baby spinach leaves.
It’s the season again for those spring veggies! Those are one of a kind; I knew they existed but never had the opportunity to try them out until I met my Bavarian in-laws. It is more tender and delicate than its green peer. Also, a bit more technical to prepare than the green type but in the end, it’s a more delicate, tender version that is too little known. So hopefully, this White Asparagus Crepe will make you switch from green to white!
Eastern Europe Favourite
In Germany, they have the “Spargelzeit,”, or the asparagus period from late April to early June, where they open little shacks by the road with white asparagus stands. Each is selling the freshest of these! The whiter and thicker, the better! If they turn pink, it means the freshness is gone but still usable at a good price.
Asparagus is a spring veggie, it turns green when it comes out of the soil, and the sun hits it. To make them white, it’s not a different type of asparagus; it’s simply that the cultivator prevents the asparagus from getting to the sun. So they keep putting soil on them until they are big enough for consumption. They use a sword-like instrument to cut through the mini hills of soil under which the asparagus hides to collect them. Art, if you ask me! No wonder why they call it: Royalty veggie over there.
The technique for cooking White vs. green asparagus is different. Well, for the green one, you cut the end of the stem and grill or blanch them. Simple! You’ll need to peel the stem entirely, from head to toe, with the white ones like two-three layers, to get to the tender bit. With the tip of your fingers, you’ll need to feel this plastic-like fibre and keep shaving layers off until this fibre layer is gone. It’s where you’ll nail or not the tenderness. You can make a lovely soup with the leftovers (here is a link to make soup).
Buckwheat Crepe or Galette
A typical French recipe for any savoury crepe would be buckwheat, which is gluten-free and has a better glycemic index than white flour. French people make all kinds of lovely crepes, also called galettes, with buckwheat flour, sometimes a mix of white and buckwheat flour. Since it is so adaptable, I thought of making my tender white asparagus with ham and butter with this type of crepe.
If you do too much, you can leave the batter covered for the next day in the fridge. Mixing it up and pouring it into the pan for a quick lunch with ham and cheese or whatever else you fancy is easy.
I’ve used the Germans’ ingredients: white asparagus with ham and butter. The usual would be Hollandaise Sauce, so if you want to indulge in this silky sauce, here is how to make it. Otherwise, use some plain salted butter. I’ve also added a few baby spinach leaves for a crunch, but these are optional.
So let’s do that white asparagus crepe!
White Asparagus Crepe
- Crepe pan or non-stick pan
- 300 g buckwheat flour
- 500 ml water
- 1 egg
- 20 white asparagus
- 6 slices of cooked ham
- baby spinach leaves
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tsp sugar
- Mix the salt into the flour.
- Add the egg in the center of the flour.
- Add water in the center slowly and whisk from the center to the sides (to keep it smooth).
- Once all mixed, pass through a meshed sieve to eliminate the unwanted lumps
- Let set in the fridge for 1-2 hours.
- Rinse the asparagus, peel them from top to bottom, 2 to 3 times, then cut the end tip at 2 cm from end.
- Add water to a large skillet, just large enough and deep enough to add all of them. Bring to a simmer.
- Add butter, salt, sugar and asparagus to the hot water and cook for 15 minutes until tender.
- Bring your nonstick pan to medium-high heat and add a little fat of your choice; cook the crepes (paper thin).
- Add the butter to the white asparagus, then the baby spinach, add to the center of the crepe and cover with a slice of cooked ham.