Asparagus & April skies

green asparagus morillesApril in Paris – I´ve been humming this melody for weeks, picturing green trees, picnics in parks and chestnuts in blossom, just like Ella Fitzgerald dreams about in that timeless rhapsody of spring. It´s been my tune of the month, an earworm surrounding me all the time, coming from the radio, the iPod, echoing in my head. We´ve already had some beautiful sun kissed moments this month, the parks have come to life, there are tulips and daffodils and green leaves of all sorts. But I can also say that Parisian April less romantically comes with the most unexpected weather changes: more often than not our weekend flâneries in the city were briskly interrupted, if not ended, by torrential rains coming down from one minute to another. This is when we would find ourselves in the next best inviting bistrot, ordering lunch, wine or even better champagne, waiting for the sun to come out again… or at least for the rain to stop.

This time of year, the star on the menus is of course the asparagus. Often served as a starter, you will find a parade of the classics: white or green asparagus with vinaigrette and poached egg, feuilleté d´asperges, asparagus with buttery Hollandaise or an airy sauce mousseline. For the few weeks it´s in season, it not only dominates restaurant kitchens, but also mine at home. My recent favorite is green asparagus with morilles, morel mushrooms.  When we arrived here, I imported some morels from Germany that I forgot to use for Christmas,  and this was a great opportunity to use them. The recipe is a actually meant to be a starter, but you can also make a full meal out of it by tossing pasta in the cream (and cutting the asparagus into large chunks). So delicious!

paris spring-18Green asparagus with morel mushrooms (serves 4 as a starter)
1 bunch of green asparagus 500-700 g
2 spring onions, chopped
20 g dried morel mushrooms, soaked in cold water for 1 hour
1 small glass of white wine, about 100 ml
250 ml full fat cream
salt and pepper to taste
a dash of piment d´Espelette, optional
chopped chives and lemon zest to serve

In a small bowl, soak morel mushrooms in cold water for 1 hour. Discard the water.

Generously cut the coarse ends from the asparagus. In heavily salted water, blanch the asparagus for a few minutes until al dente. Drain an pour ice cold water immediately. Set aside.

Chop spring onions. In a large pan, heat 3 tbsp olive oil and 1 walnut sized chunk of butter on medium to high heat. Sauté the onions until translucent, add the morel mushrooms and, on high heat, a glass of wine. Reduce to a bit less than half, stirring frequently.

Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes, covered, adding a little water if necessary. It is important to cook the morels for 15 minutes at least. Season to taste.
Stir in the cream. Add asparagus for 2-3 minutes, until reheated.

Serve with chopped chives, a dash of piment d´Espelette and grated lemon zest.

Grüner Spargel mit Morcheln

green asparagus morilles-2April in Paris – der alte Ella Fitzgerald Song begleitet mich seit ein paar Wochen fast überall hin, er kommt aus dem Radio, vom iPod oder dudelt leise in meinem Kopf, während ich von Picknicks in unter Kastanien träume. Tatsächlich erblüht die Stadt, immer mehr Bäume ergrünen, es gibt Tulpen und Osterglocken in Hülle und Fülle. Es gibt aber auch, ziemlich unromantisch, plötzliche Regengüsse, die von einer Minute zur andern herniederprasseln. So fand schon so mancher Stadtspaziergang ein jähes Ende oder zumindest eine plötzliche Unterbrechung. Doch im nächstbesten Bistrot läßt sich Aprilwetter dann doch ganz gut ertragen, mit einem Glas Wein, noch besser vielleicht einem Schluck Champagner und einem leckeren kleinen Mittagessen.

Im Moment ist es natürlich der Spargel, der sich auf jeder Speisekarte breitmacht., mit Vinaigrette, im Blätterteig, mit pochiertem Ei, Sauce hollandaise oder der luftigeren Sauce mousseline. Auch bei uns zu Hause hat er gerade die Küche erobert. Mein derzeitiger Favorit ist grüner Spargel mit Morcheln. Ein kleines, feines Rezept, eigentlich als Vorspeise gedacht, aus der man aber mit in der Sauce gewendeten Pasta im Nu ein vollwertiges Mahl gezaubert hat.

green asparagus morilles-5Grüner Spargel mit Morcheln (für 4 als Vorspeise)
1 Bund grüner Spargel 500-700 g
2 Frühlingszwiebeln, gehackt
20 g getrocknete Morcheln, 1 Std. in kaltem Wasser eingeweicht
1 kleines Glas Weißwein, ca. 100 ml
250 ml Sahne
Salz und Pfeffer
etwas Piment d´Espelette, optional
etwas Schnittlauch und Zitronenzeste

In einer kleinen Schüssel Morcheln 1 Std. in kaltem Wasser einweichen. Wasser abgießen und verwerfen.

Die Enden der Spargelstangen großzügig abschneiden. Spargel in reichlich gesalzenem Wasser blanchieren. Mit kaltem Wasser abschrecken.

Frühlingszwiebel würfeln. Zwiebel in einer großen Pfanne in 3 EL Olivenöl und einem walnußgroßen Stück Butter bei mittlerer bis starker Hitze anschwitzen. Morcheln zugeben und mit dem Weißwein ablöschen. Bei starker Hitze und unter häufigem Rühren auf etwas weniger als die Hälfte einkochen.

Bei kleiner Hitze zugedeckt 15-20 Minuten köcheln lassen, falls nötig etwas Wasser zugeben. Salzen und pfeffern. Am Ende die Sahne unterrühren und den Spargel in der Soße erwärmen. Zum Servieren mit gehacktem Schnittlauch, Piment d´Espelette und Zitronenzeste bestreuen.

spring chestnuts4

 

55 thoughts on “Asparagus & April skies

  1. Beautiful receipts, as usual; really love asparagus. Can you tell me where is that monument/fountain you’ve used to illustrate this post? Majestic. Thanks. Cheers

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    1. thank you! Yes, asparagus is a wonderful vegetable! Do you prefer white or green? At the moment, I´m more on the green side, but mainly because I don´t have to peel them. Have a lovely week! Sabine

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      1. I’ve only tried the white ones once, in Berlin some years ago. We almost never see them in the shops here and when they appear they don’t look fresh so I’ve never bought them. I prefer them to the green, though I love green asparagus as well. They are very different actually. I have two plants in pots and I snap them off as soon as I see them and eat them on the spot.🙂

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      2. Home grown asparagus? I´ve never even thought of that, how cool! And as of the not fresh looking asparagus in the shops: no way will they be good, they´re best the day of harvest, so your quite right to avoid them. I´m really not sure which one I prefer , sometimes green, sometimes white…..

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  2. Very beautiful. I’ve been eating asparagus a lot too and this is a lovely and simple recipe for it. Spring in New York seems kind of similar to Paris spring. Weather fluctuations! Today is beautiful though and I intend to enjoy🙂

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    1. Hi Amanda, I hope you have enjoyed your day! Here it´s been quite lovely, too, and no rain. It´s just a must to have lots of asparagus as long as it´s available, making food memories for another year. Take care!

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  3. Morels. I used a few myself a short while ago. In season the same time asparagus is, it is natural to combine them.They are integral to Leipziger Allerlei, a German dish disproving the notion of basic, stick-to-your-ribs cooking.
    Beautiful post!
    Best wishes,
    Alex

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    1. Hi Alex, I didn´t know morels were needed for Leipziger Allerlei which in fact I never tasted (obviously, otherwise I had known ;-)). I used dried morels here because I had found a small batch lying around I had forgotten about – good timing since I had this recipe on my mind . All the best to you, Sabine

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    1. I always thought where there´s green can also be white. Isn´t the only difference the white ones don´t see the sun and the green ones do? I ´m not sure which one I prefer, but I do know I prefer the fact you don´t have to peel the green asparagus!

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  4. Your photographs are beautiful Sabine. How lucky you are to live in Paris, the streets dotted with bistro in which to seek shelter from the rain. A plate of asparagus and a glass of champagne is my idea of heaven.

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  5. Oh how lovely…such pretty photos. Not only of Paris but your delicious asparagus. I’ve timed this visit perfectly as I just this minute got back from a farmer’s market with a big bag of fresh morels. Your recipe sounds like a wonderful way to use them.

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      1. Bonjour Sabine…..for some reason I am not able to follow you…The error message reads “your subscription did not succeed, please try again with a valid email address”

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      2. oh, thanks yo much for reporting that back! I just tried to follow myself via mail and had the same problem. must check on that with the wp support.
        Did you try to follow with the wordpress follow button? It should work with that….

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      3. ok, how strange! It worked for me that way, tried a minute ago, but I wasn´t asked a mail address obviously.
        Now I just sent a mail to the wp support, hope they´ll fix it very soon! what a pity..sorry!!

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      4. Sabine, For some reason it is giving me the same message.😦 I use this email all the time, so I’m not sure why I am getting this message?

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      5. I´m so sorry for that trouble , Loretta, but perhaps I kn ow what it it. I changed my blog´s name and redirected the site to another domain. I will change back and then you should be able to subscribe. Thanks for being so patient! Sabine

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      6. So sorry for all the trouble Sabine, I did not intend to put you through all of this, but I definitely would not want to miss out on your future posts🙂

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      7. not at all, I´m so glad you told me, now I can have it fixed – hopefully. I´m chatting with a WP staff member right now, but we´re not done yet :-(( I´ll let you know if it´s working but I don’t want to bother you….

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  6. Oh yummy, as you know I love asparagus green and white. Never had it with morel sauce, got to get me some asap. Oh wait, I am forbidden far tours now (I asked exactly how far far is), so setting all my hopes on my husband bringing back the right mushrooms.
    Blog spring cleaning? Saying a slightly sad goodbye to Mamangerie, hello new face.
    Nicole

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    1. spring clean: yes, sort of!thought about new face/name for a while, so far having a bit of trouble getting it all done the right way….. best wishes for your last weeks, on the good side it´s “not too hot ” which can be hard, too!

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  7. Sabine – I enjoyed this post so much – the food – the photographs – the writing – and I could hear Ella as well. Personally I’m all for the green asparagus and I can’t wait until it is in season here in Canada – another week or two off yet.

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    1. thank you so much! asparagus is just THE spring vegetable for me – though the weather has turned so bad these last days and it´s as cold as in winter right now. Freezing and hoping for spring to come back, and asparagus to arrive in Canada, Sabinex

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