How to cook white asparagus, German style. Classic spargel recipe with quick and easy Hollandaise sauce (no-fail).
- Go straight to the Recipe Card or
- Read on for relevant tips and step-by-step pictures and video (1-2 mins)
A Short Note About White Asparagus and the Recipe
This is a classic German recipe for preparing white asparagus (Weißer Spargel) and serving it with Hollandaise sauce. The asparagus is gently flavored, as its tender flesh cooks, through a few simple additions to the boiling water. As soon as it is done, it is plated and smothered with rich yet mildly seasoned Hollandaise and enjoyed as appetizer or a main vegetarian dish. We have included a list of alternative, but still traditional German ways to serve the white asparagus at the bottom of this post.
White asparagus is only different from green asparagus because it is never exposed to sunlight – it is cultivated underground, covered by mounds of soil and also sheets of dark plastic. This blockage prevents chlorophyll from absorbing light and keeps the spears a pale, milky color. To be harvested it must first be carefully dug out from the soil, a cumbersome manual process which accounts for its higher price.
To prepare German style white asparagus you will need a large pot filled with water to boil it. Additionally:
- Fresh white asparagus. The mildly flavored star ingredient. The thicker the spears, the longer you will need to boil them.
- Butter, lemon juice, salt and sugar. All are traditionally added to the boiling water to flavor the white asparagus while it is cooking.
For a no-hassle, no-fail Hollandaise sauce made entirely in your blender you will need:
- Egg yolks. Use large eggs, as fresh as possible (the blender method skips the gentle warming of the sauce via double boiler).
- Butter. You will melt it and it will help warm the yolks, aided by the heat released by the blades of the blender.
- Lemon juice. Freshly squeezed.
- White wine. Optional, but recommended as it adds an elegant depth of flavor to the sauce.
- Hot sauce or white pepper. Originally Hollandaise was made with white pepper or a pinch of cayenne, but a few dashes of aged hot sauce work well. Your choice.
- Salt. To season. Add just a bit in the beginning, then taste and adjust once the sauce is blended.
- Prep. You definitely want to peel white asparagus, as well as trim the woody ends of the stalks. Once you do the tender, crunchy flesh is exposed. Be careful handling the spears as they tend to be more brittle than green asparagus.
- Bring flavored water to boil. Fill a large pot with water and bring to boil. Add the butter, salt, sugar and lemon juice and stir as the butter melts.
- Boil and serve. Once the water is boiling add the white asparagus and boil for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove carefully from the water and serve immediately, while still hot. Drizzle with Hollandaise, garnish with parsley or dill.
How to Make Hollandaise Sauce in Blender
- Prep. Bring eggs to room temperature, separate the yolks (save the whites for another recipe). Melt butter and remove from heat. Set up a blender.
- Blend. Briefly blend the yolks, then add the salt, white wine, lemon juice and hot sauce, blend briefly again. Slowly add the melted butter as you blend on low until all is incorporated.
- Keep warm. If not serving immediately, transfer to an appropriate ceramic or glass container and immerse the bottom of that container into a bowl with hot water (similar to double boiler but not over direct heat).
What Goes Well with White Asparagus?
- In Germany another favorite way to eat spargel is with ham (or prosciutto) and boiled potatoes, called Dampfkartoffeln. Other potato preparation ideas that go alongside white asparagus include braised, roasted, pan-fried, mashed or potato dumplings.
- White asparagus and ham is often drizzled with a simple lemon butter sauce instead of the richer Hollandaise. To make it simply melt butter on very low heat and slowly stir in lemon juice, along with salt and pepper to taste for seasoning.
- Pork roast, schnitzel, frikadellen and brats are all delicious when accompanied by German white asparagus.
- Baked fish fillet or pan-seared salmon
- Baked chicken legs or roast chicken
- Crisp, effervescent German beers – we recommend Munich Helles, Weissbier, Northern German Pilsner, Keller pilsners and Maibock.
- Light bodied white wines with herbal and citrus notes such as Grüner Veltliner or Sauvignon Blanc.
Other Recipes You Might Like
- 1lb white asparagus (a bit more is fine)
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 10 tbsp butter
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 tbsp white wine (optional)
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp hot sauce (optional)
1. Peel the asparagus using a vegetable peeler and cut off the woody ends. (Handle it with care as it can snap easily, being almost 94% water).
2. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the butter, salt, sugar and lemon juice and stir. Gently drop the white asparagus and boil for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on how thick it is.
3. Gently remove the spears from the boiling water and plate. Serve immediately, drizzled with Hollandaise and garnished with parsley or dill.
1. In a small sauce pan over gentle heat melt the butter.
2. In a blender place the egg yolks and blend on slow for just a couple of seconds. Add the lemon juice, salt, white wine and hot sauce (if using). Blend again for a couple of seconds.
3. Slowly add the melted butter while blending, until it is all incorporated. Taste the Hollandaise sauce and adjust seasoning as needed. Transfer the sauce to a warm serving dish or gravy boat and serve. If you need to keep it warm, place the serving container in a pan with hot water so it does not separate. Do not try to microwave it or heat it up over direct heat.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 354Total Fat: 35gSaturated Fat: 21gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 222mgSodium: 1163mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 5g