The cofounder of Gourmet z Lyubymivky tells about his favorite recipes with asparagus for beginners in his column on

Cofounder of Gourmet z Lyubymivky Johan Boden told about his family traditions of cooking asparagus and his own recipes for beginners.


My father had a ritual: for his birthday — April 16 — he ordered white asparagus. Usually it was brought from Germany, although we even tried to grow it (in Sweden it is difficult). He bought 1 box, 12 kilograms, and no one was allowed to touch it until day X. On his birthday, my dad used to take a knife, a saucepan, to put a table and a chair in the yard, and to begin to peel the stalks under the spring sun. It was like a therapy for him.

Now I do the same asparagus ritual on my birthday, April 20.

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When I started working in Ukraine in the early 90s, asparagus was not sold here, and I used to bring it in suitcases from business trips to Holland and Germany. I was taking 20 kilograms, and since the asparagus should be a little wet, it cost me a couple of dozen of white shirts.

And then our family began to grow it near Kakhovka, at first only for ourselves, and now it is the largest Ukrainian asparagus farm.

There are three types of asparagus: white, green and purple.

If you are a beginner of cooking asparagus, I recommend starting with the green one, it is easier, it does not need to be peeled. I cook green asparagus like this. I blanch it by dipping in hot water for 2 minutes, then fry in a pan or grill, add a little lemon sauce, olive oil, parmesan cheese and black pepper. It tastes like a Mediterranean dish.

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Although green asparagus appears first, the most valuable to me is the white one. This delicate plant grows underground and is not exposed to sunlight. But it is important to peel it correctly, removing about a millimeter of the peel along the entire length except for the tip, otherwise it will taste bitter.

But after that, cooking it is also easy. I boil white asparagus in lightly salted water. The top is the most tender and fantastically tasty part, so asparagus is cooked "standing", that is, in an upright position, keeping the tips above the water. Now I have a special tall and narrow pan for this, but before that I just took a tin can of this shape, pierced the walls and put it inside a regular wide pan. You only need to cook it for 3-4 minutes.

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Cook it al dente, it should not be boiled. Then I put it on a separate plate, wrapping it in a regular kitchen towel to keep it moist. The taste of asparagus is mild, so I serve it with slices of ham, jamon, salmon, chicken or fish fillets, potatoes and a simple sauce. The sauce is prepared like that: mix the yolks of soft-boiled eggs with melted butter and a pinch of salt, sprinkle a little with parsley — that's it, for me it's the best, the taste of childhood.

Although asparagus is more often served with Hollandaise sauce, it is also tasty, but more troublesome. Asparagus tastes good with dry white wine, Riesling and other wines of northern Europe, as well as Ukrainian, there are excellent wines, for example, the Trubetskoy’s ("Prince Trubetskoy Winery" —, their vineyards are located not far from us. Serve a cool, sour white wine with white asparagus.

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In all countries with snowy and cold winters, the arrival of spring is an important event, and asparagus is the European symbol of spring, a celebration of the beginning of the heat, because it appears when the soil warms up and other crops need more sun.

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Asparagus is a healthy food, which also makes it "European". This green vegetable is purifying and after the first week of eating asparagus I feel a detox effect. The idea of longevity and health is taking over Western civilization more and more, because right now we see how vulnerable we are.

People with cardiovascular disease, obesity, high blood pressure are all at risk of viruses, and these problems are related to what is consumed in food. Fast food is blamed, that is, food that has been processed with a lot of fat, salt, sugar, calories. Asparagus requires minimal cooking, although it is super fast food in terms of cooking time.

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And one more thing. Growing asparagus does not harm the environment. The season of this perennial plant lasts only 2 months, from April to June, that is in the spring we are already harvesting. During this period there are few insects, so we do not need to fight with them. There are much less irrigation problems. Because asparagus grows very tall, it takes nitrogen from the air and "transports" it into the soil. The only thing is that after asparagus, the soil needs to rest for several years before sowing a new crop on this soil.

For me, asparagus remains a family affair, a tradition. We have been growing it for 15 years, we have connected other farmers from Kakhovka, we are selling it, my children know how to cook it. If my father was alive, he would be proud.