Green asparagus from Les Landes were in the market for the first time this spring, a true cause for celebration. The area of Les Landes is just north of the Béarn, and is known for its sandy soil (and in 2022, for its terrible forest fires!) that is perfect for asparagus. Les Landes asparagus is considered to be the finest in France.
White asparagus arrived the week week before, but I have never really understood its appeal. Les flavorful, more fibrous and more expensive (?!), I generally leave it to those who love it – my apologies if that is you, please feel free to email me and tell me why I am wrong.
Anyway, very fresh asparagus is quick and easy to cook and is done in moments. Wash the asparagus well, then snap off the tough bottom part of the stem. I dont think that there is any need to peel. I prefer the fat stems, and like them simply steamed with sea salt, pepper, a few tablespoons of water and a big knob of butter. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat, cover and cook gently until the stems are tender but not soft, about 4 minutes. Remove the spears to a warm serving plate, then reduce the cooking liquid until syrupy and spoon over the asparagus. With a roasted farm chicken, Heaven!
Note, here I have added a bay leaf, as we just completed pruning the very busy bay laurel that grows in our yard, and have dried a bunch for future use.