AmiExpat has been challenging other bloggers to a weekly session of German cooking from recipes she has translated herself out of an old cookbook. Since Spargelzeit is upon us, this week's chosen recipe was Spargel mit Kratzete, or white asparagus with torn up pancake bits!
Most of the asparagus sold here is grown in nearby Schwetzingen. We didn't make it out in time to go to the market, so we first checked Rewe. They were all out of it, though they had plenty of the green kind left. Then we checked the nearby Turkish market, and they had a nice supply. It's not cheap - the price for what we got was 8.50 EUR per kg. I guess this is because it's rather labor-intensive to grow. To keep the asparagus from turning green, it must be protected from the sun, so it's buried in dirt/manure/tarp then dug out later.
Peeling it is a pain, but I find I don't really like green asparagus that isn't peeled either (I like the older stuff rather than the younger, skinny ones), so nothing new there. It doesn't peel off nicely like carrots, but is stringy and curls up, gets caught in the peeler, etc. Persevere!
We tied the Spargel up in bundles and put it in the water. We decided to halve the recipe because it said it was four servings, and there were just the two of us, and it didn't look like something that would reheat well. (We don't have a microwave so all reheating is done on the stove or in the oven.) We ended up buying .8 kg of Spargel and tied it into two nice little bundles before dropping it in the boiling water. It juuuuust fit in our pot.
The recipe for the pancakes called for 5 eggs and when halving it we went with 3. Beating the whites without a mixer was a bit of work, but they looked nice when it was accomplished.
We made one giant pancake at a time, then broke it up with a fork in the pan as directed by the recipe. We also followed the suggestion to keep the broken bits in the oven while making the rest of the pancakes. This recipe made a lot of pancake.
Since there were just two of us we didn't arrange the ham (we got Schwarzwaelder Schinken, Black Forest ham) on a serving dish or anything, just put some on our individual plates, then divvied up the asparagus and took a big pile of pancakes. You can see the enormous pile in this photo of my plate. Even with all that, we had another serving of pancake bits left over. It was then quite clear why the estimated calories for this dish are 900 per serving! It is a huge meal. I think the original recipe would easily serve six instead of just four. Also, for the non-pork-eaters out there, the ham is not part of the actual recipe at all, it's just eaten on the side. So, it would be very easy to cut it entirely or substitute any sort of other smoked sliced meat. To cut the calorie content, use skim milk for the pancakes. Also, you don't really need as much butter as it calls for on the asparagus, we found. We only needed about half that.
It turned out really well and I would recommend it to all you asparagus fans! :)