Quick and healthy: asparagus with potatoes and ham

Here in Central Europe May is the month of asparagus and strawberries and rhubarb! In France they tend to eat more of the green kind that is only peeled at the bottom end. Here in Germany both kinds are sold, but the fat, white stalks are the most common, from Pörnbach, Abensberg or Schrobenhausen, although they are also sent up from Greece. The first ones arrive in April and the last harvest is traditionally towards the 24th June, Johannistag (St. John’s).

One kilogram usually costs about €12. I’d suggest buying about 5-6 stalks per person. I use a special peeler (cf. photo) and peel first the ends, then the top end while staying away from the shoot which doesn’t necessitate anything. The yellowish in-between layer must also be peeled away. Then the bottom end is cut off, a little more if the end is tough.

My asparagus are cooked in a large skillet, but professionals use special cylindrical pots so the bottom is cooked longer than the bud. I cook mine for approximately 10-11 minutes in salted water, some people add in a bit of sugar, some like them more al dente and cook them a minute less.

Meanwhile wash some potatoes with flaky skin and cooked them in salt water for about 20 minutes depending on their size. I poke them after 18 minutes or so to check the degree of softness.

You can make your own sauce hollandaise out of butter, shallots, egg yolks, vinegar, salt & pepper, whisked creamy in a bain-marie. Or you simply buy a packet of sauce hollandaise, also as fat-reduced, and heat it along with the asparagus, adding a splash of lemon.

Delicious accompaniments are cooked honey, smoked, lemon-pepper or serrano ham, also small veal scallops or beef tournedos.

Basque pipérade

You may already know this easy and quick recipe, there are different variations of this sausage and veggie mixture with a fluffy omelette. It’s a meal I like to do when I want something tasty, spicy and not too heavy. Try to buy very fresh eggs and vegetables, you will notice the difference in taste!

The recipe originated in South France, hence the typical vegetables. You can also try experimenting with different types of sausage, like chorizo.

for 2 servings:

  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 4 Wiener sausages, cut
  • 1/2 bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 zucchini, diced
  • 1/2 aubergine, diced
  • 1 – 2 tomatoes, quartered
  • olive oil / margarine
  • salt & pepper
  • herbes de Provence
  • 5-6 large fresh eggs
  • some milk, salt & pepper

fresh crusty bread or a baguette to accompany the meal

Start by preparing all the vegetables. Then heat the oil in a skillet and toss the onions and the sausage bits until they start browning. Add the other vegetables with the salt & pepper and the herbes de Provence. If the mixture is too dry, add a little water and put a lid on the skillet at a low setting until all are tender.

Meanwhile crack the eggs into a large cup or bowl, add a little milk and salt & pepper and beat them with a wire whisk until blended. Pour the eggs into a medium hot skillet with butter or margarine and let them set. Gently turn the omelette several times until cooked, making sure the omelette stays fluffy.

When everything is finished, gently spoon the vegetable/ sausage mixture onto a plate, add in the omelette, garnish with chives and enjoy!