Today I bought 750 g 3rd grade Asparagus: the stems are a little too slender, shorter and not as straight as the 1# grade ones. Best thing to do is to make a stew, because therefore stems are cut into pieces. The asparagus will taste as good as the 1rst grade, anyhow it is the look which makes the grade. This is some kind of stew my grandmother and mother used to made (the family of my grandmother owned an asparagus farm in Schwetzingen/Southern Germany) so I think it is a southern german recipe:
|Asparagus cream stew with meat balls|
First I peeled the stems and cut off the ends and the heads and set them aside separately. I cut the stems into 3-4 pieces and washed the peels and asparagus ends in running water .
I cooked the peels and ends in 600 ml water just for 2 minutes and strained the water into a bowl (don't boil longer or it will taste bad). Then I boiled the cooking water up again with a good pinch salt and a good pinch sugar and the asparagus stems added. This has to simmer just for a few minutes. The pieces should stay firm. I added the heads and simmered for 2 more minutes. Afterwards I scooped out the vegetable and set it aside.
I made the meat balls mixing:
- 1 small shallot cut into very tiny dices and steamed with a teaspoon butter in the microwave until translucent (45 sec.)
- 250 g ground pork/veal
- 1 slice baguette soaked in water, squeezed and finely crumbled
- 1 small egg
- 1 good pinch salt
- pinch freshly ground pepper and nutmeg
- pinch sweet chili powder
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
I dropped the balls into the hot asparagus cooking water with a little bit more salt and simmered for 10 more minutes (lower temperature). Afterwards I scooped out the meat balls, set them aside covered with a plate. I sieved the cooking liquid through a fine mashed metal strainer and measured the cooking liquid: 400 ml and added 400 ml milk.
Now I heated up 1 good heaped tablespoon butter in a larger pot until sizzling hot and melted. I added 1 tablespoon wheat flour and whisked it well (while still cooking) until the flour became white and foaming and a scent reminding on cookies emerged. Quickly I added the milk-liquid mix (600 ml) in a small flow and whisked until everything was smooth and runny. This I let simmer for 15 minutes without a lid. During this time I added about 100 ml liquid again - depending on the grade of thickness of the cream sauce not too thick not too thin.
At the end I seasoned with:
- 1 tablespoon chopped tarragon (fresh harvest from a new plant I planted)
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest (about 1/2 lemon)
- freshly ground pepper (some say use white pepper for white sauces but white white pepper tastes *yuk*)
- a little bit more sugar
- a few drops Worcester sauce