That’s not a reference to the plastic film that often envelops the precious spears in supermarkets. Instead, it refers to the ground from which this seasonal vegetable springs. In an effort to accelerate their harvest, many farmers stretch a warming film over the asparagus ridges – the long mounds of earth from which the vegetable grows. The larger the field, the more plastic these farmers consume. However, one farmer taking a deliberate stance against this is Veronika Röll. “Our asparagus is moistened by wind and water and tickled into life by the sun,” explains the 32-year-old agriculturalist. It might take a little longer but, as Röll says, the result is a more intense flavor. “And we’re doing something good for the environment,” adds the Lower-Bavarian native.
A Mediterranean dish with local ingredients
It’s only natural that someone who puts as much heart and soul into growing their vegetables will cook them with a spoonful of love, too. Homemade ingredients are all part and parcel, with spelt tagliatelle, a white wine sauce, wild garlic oil and a wild garlic pesto. It sounds pretty delicious. “You should be excited, it’s going to be incredible!” assures the asparagus grower.
- 750g white asparagus
- 750g green asparagus
- 3 tbsp. rapeseed oil
- Toasted pine nuts
- Grated Bergkäse (like Emmental, Vorarlberger or Gruyère)
- Wild garlic pesto
Peel the white and green asparagus and cut the spears into approx. 3cm pieces. Heat three tablespoons of rapeseed oil in a pan and start by adding the white asparagus, followed by the green asparagus. (Green asparagus takes a little less time to cook, around 8 minutes.) Season with salt and pepper, then leave to stew over a lower heat for around 12 minutes. Add a little liquid as needed.
Cook tagliatelle until al dente. Combine the sauce, the tagliatelle and the asparagus and serve in a pasta bowl. Garnish with the toasted pine nuts, grated cheese and wild garlic pesto.
Tip: Edible flowers and herbs from your own garden serve as eye-catching elements on any plate.
Ingredients for the white wine sauce:
- 70g butter
- 3 garlic cloves
- 5 tbsp. flour
- 250ml white wine
- 750ml vegetable stock
- 200ml cream
- Fresh herbs (chives, parsley, dill)
Melt the butter, add the finely chopped garlic and fry gently. Add the flour, stir until smooth, then add the stock and white wine and mix vigorously. Bring to the boil and leave to simmer for five minutes. Season with salt, pepper and sugar and finish with a little cream
Difference between white and green asparagus
White asparagus grows underground, so farm workers have to gouge it out of the soil. As soon as its tip sees the sun, it turns a sort of blue-ish color. For the most part, that isn’t a bad thing. “It makes the flavor even more intense,” explains Veronika. It’s important to peel the spears well, starting from two centimeters below the tip.
With green asparagus, on the other hand, it’s enough to peel just the bottom third. Unlike white asparagus, the green variant grows above the soil and is harvested by simply cutting the spears off. Its flavor is similar to that of broccoli. “Personally, I prefer green asparagus, because its flavor is tangier and more intense,” says Veronika.
Garnishing with cheese and seeds
Veronika sets aside a few sautéed asparagus spears and dresses the dish by placing them on top of the pasta. A few toasted pine nuts also give this vegetarian recipe a little added bite. Finally, Veronika sprinkles some freshly grated cheese over the steaming pasta and drizzles a little wild garlic pesto and balsamic cream on top. If you like, you can add further decoration with a few sprigs of rosemary or a scattering of chive blossoms.