Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Asperges koken en serveren op de originele manier

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now will cook the asparagus - phase 3 - equally important

but we will not discard this, coz we need it to cook

look, there are 2 ways of cooking asparagus

if we talk about white asparagus

not about the green ones

if you're interested in the presentation

and you want a bright, white asparagus

presentation is nowadays very prominent again

if you really want a beautifully white asparagus

then you cook the asparagus in water and salt

but if you want a tasty asparagus

then we use the classic way of cooking asparagus

in the kitchen we usually use a roasting tray

to cook the asparagus, so they can all neatly lay lengthwise

certainly if you have big asparagus

at home you can, certainly if you have cut them evenly

do exactly the same with a pot on the stove

we want the asparagus to be tasty

and taste we get by using - let's say the waste, the peels

and the ends we cut off - during cooking

a part we put in the bottom of the roasting tray or pot

then we put in the asparagus on top

then we cover them - and to increase the weight a bit -

with some peels and cuttings

to ensure the asparagus are under water

and get a lot of flavour

why do we put the peels on the bottom?

because when we bring it to the boil, the asparagus will absorb all the taste

the water comes to a boil, the taste is extracted from the peels

it is absorbed by the asparagus and then you have the most tasty asparagus you can imagine

taking into account a few tricks...

the asparagus will be a little less, pure white in colour

but you will have in turn the tastiest asparagus possible

so... a part of the peels goes in the bottom of the baking tray

then we take a

clean dishcloth

in the kitchen we use a cheese cloth

the same cloth we use to clarify stock

and we put our beautiful, peeled asparagus on top

then we add cooking liquid and flavouring and we have a few tricks for that as well


normal water

and I use the liquid in which the asparagus have been soaking

until they're almost covered

then a good glass of white wine

for extra taste

and now I have to see that my asparagus are exactly under the surface

otherwise I need to add a little water

until they're all covered

purely for taste

a few chunks of butter

and of course

on the asparagus and the liquid we put salt

now you would think...

pepper from the mill

but because I don't want any black specks on my beautiful white asparagus

I use some black pepper corns

which I briefly crush with the knife

and so will release their flavour but not their colour

for me, the big trick is

with asparagus, to add a bit of mace

rather than to add nutmeg

nutmeg also adds colour and sometimes too strong a flavour

and now I'll tell you a very dirty trick

there is this trick - and I don't do it often -

but I've worked in traditional kitchens

and guests were always full of praise about our asparagus

and emmm

even though I prefer to cook them like this

I'll nevertheless give you this

and that's simply a little sugar

sugar works with many vegetables as a nice taste enhancer

don't tell anyone...

trick number 2... the asparagus will colour a bit more now

to achieve a white colour in the asparagus and as an opposite to the sugar

and to bring out the full taste of the asparagus

we add a little bit of lemon juice

and lemon juice also ensures the asparagus will not turn brown that fast

then we fold the cloth

and we cover the top

with the asparagus ends

and the rest of the peels

then we bring all this slowly to a boil

now I have a dilemma

because I use the asparagus as a starter or in a salad then they need to be crisp

and I use them as a main course - warm - and then they need to be soft

and look; if at home I cook asparagus as a main course

then I let them cook

for about 8 minutes

then I take off the cloth, I poke them and if they are nice and soft

then I take them out and serve them

but in a restaurant kitchen you cannot do that

so what we do in a restaurant kitchen

we bring the asparagus to the boil

and once they are bubbling away and are cooking

I switch off the fire

then I let them slowly cook in the liquid

away from the fire

then I always have a crisp asparagus

and if I need them as a main course

then I put them back in the sieved cooking liquid

I warm them up and then they're exactly done

then comes the demasquee

we're going to look if our asparagus are cooked

very careful because it's blazing hot

we put the top to the side

and then easiest with a tong

the cloth to the side

and then we take one asparagus

we poke it with a knife

and we feel; this is perfectly cooked

this asparagus we can serve beautifully as a main course

you see; it is still crispy and still has a bite

the asparagus is not hanging limply

in the professional kitchen we call this 'slier' asparagus

which just means: cooked asparagus

I finish them in the classic way 'a la Flamande'

I need to tell you honestly

that if I order asparagus a la Flamande I always get slices of warm ham on the side

while actually asparagus a la Flamande is a vegetarian dish

because it is asparagus with melted butter

and egg - that is the classic 'Flamande'

there are 2 ways you can prepare it

you can do it at the table; in the restaurant

then the asparagus are served under a serviette, nice and warm on a tray

at the table - in a deep plate - by the matre d

the egg is chopped finely

with parsley, salt and pepper

then mixed with melted butter

that mixture is then draped over the asparagus

that's the restaurant way so to speak

if you do it in the kitchen you do it different, actually a little more refined

then we do it 'mimosa style'

and for mimosa style asparagus we have rubbed cooked egg yolks through a sieve with the back of a spoon

we have melted butter

and now we pour the butter over the egg yolks and make a sauce of it

we mix the yolks with so much butter

that we get a beautiful creamy sauce

this sauce we bring to taste with pepper from the mill

salt and - to your liking - a little nutmeg

never use too much nutmeg

nutmeg can dominate a dish and we already have the taste of mace in the asparagus

now we place the asparagus on the plate

on the plate we already have some new potatoes

cooked in the peel, then peeled and dressed with some butter with salt, pepper and parsley

now we position the asparagus

in a menu I take 300 gram asparagus per person

and only if we serve asparagus as a main course, I take

about 500 gram asparagus per person

dab the asparagus - before putting them on the plate - on a dry cloth

so that later when I add sauce it won't run

or separate

the sauce needs to be thick of course

then we dress the egg whites over the middle of the asparagus

and finally, the egg/butter sauce, over the tips of the asparagus

asparagus 'a la Flamande'

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