Fresh Dutch Asparagus is popular in Europe and quite delicious. I love fresh asparagus. It’s tasty and delicious. In Europe we eat it with ham, smoked salmon and Hollandaise sauce! Very fresh tender asparagus can be eaten raw and used in salads or serve chilled with a vegetable dip. On board Holland America Line ships we are serving the asparagus throughout the season with fresh sliced ham or prosciutto, Hollandaise sauce and a touch of fresh tarragon.
1. To prepare asparagus, use a paring knife to trim about an inch from the lower end of each stem, and hold the top half of a spear in one hand. Grasp the bottom half with your hand to peel the asparagus using a standard vegetable peeler. Peel downward toward the base of the other hand. Peeling away the tougher skin near the bottom of the spears will help them cooking more evenly.
2. To steam in a sauce pan or steamer, put one pound of fresh asparagus spears in to one cup of boiling water. Add salt, pepper and butter. Lightly steam for approximately 6-8 minutes, or until crisp-tender. Serve with a little hot butter, salt and pepper and sliced ham or prosciutto.
Rudi Sodamin is Holland America Line’s master chef.