white aspargus on potato bread
Dub doesn’t get Spargel – white aspargus. Though maybe now he does, after we had a Spargelfleckerl.
Spargel is a rather big thing here. During the season, which lasts from May until Johanni on June 24th (=summer solstice), many resaturants will have Spargelwochen with a special aspargus menu. The classis way for me is to have the white stalks with potatoes, a selection of cooked, sliced hams and a generous serving of Sauce Hollandaise. Or with metled butter and freshly grated Parmigiano. Some resaturants like to revert to the Bavraian business of adding a good chunk of meat to any dish and serve Spargel alongside a Schnitzel. But generally, Dub jokes, we just slather it in butter.
But no no no. There’s so much more to Spargel! This season, I’m determined to show him how many awesome and light dishes there are around Spargel.
s’Spargelfleckerl is the perfect opener. It’s easy to make, it’s something neither of us had ever had, and it is delicious. And Dub recognised that aspargus actually had a taste of it’s own – that’s a start!
for the potato dough:
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
350g mealy potatoes
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
for the aspargus topping:
3 tablespoons olive oil
300g white aspargus
olive oil, salt and pepper for seasoning
In a pot, bring water with the fennel seeds to a boil and boil the potatoes in it until soft. Usually, when you make potato dough, you peel the potatoes after cooking, but I without a potatoe fork (a little trinagle pronged fork that holds the potatoes really well when peeling it hot), I wished I had peeled them beforehand. It wokred, but was a bit of a mess and a little hot around my finger tips.
While the potatoes are cooking, peel the arpargus and cut off the bottom end (I added the scraps to my freezer veggie scraps bag that I will later use for making phenomenal veggie broth). Once peeled, keep peeling. You want to slice te stalks into thin long strips. Be careful not to break the tips off. I found it really useful to place the aspargus along the edge of the cutting board, because that way the sides of the peeled wouldn’t be scraping along the board, allowing me to slice to bottom half of the stalks as well. For me this part was a bit of a battle, so be patient, it’ll be worth it.
By now, you can preheat you oven to 220°C (no convection, only Ober-/Unterhitze). Mix the Quark, yoghurt, olive oil. This will be your base layer topping, just like tomato sauce on a pizza.
Once the potatoes are cooked and peeled, mix your dough. Mash up the potatoes right after peeling them and knead in with the flour (careful, it’s really hot! a mixer with kneading hooks is a good idea). Knead in the salt an olive oil and shape into a ball. Half the dough and shape each into a ball. Roll it out into what ever shape you end up with. Mine were about 30cm in diameter each. Spread the quark mixture onto the dough and drape the aspargus slices over it. Make sure they’re not all aligned and pretty, but rather like your cat gone wild with a skein of wool.
Place the Fleckerl on parchment lined baking sheets and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Serve them on a large wooden cutting board. Sprinkle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
When living in Toronto, white aspargus was extremely hard to come by. The few times that I would spot it in Kensington market, they were rubbery sad sticks with moldy feet. So I just never bothered. Here, during Spargel season, they’re road side stalls everywhere. Many people swear by a particular region – Abendsberg and Schrobenhausen being the big ones. In the supermarkets, you can sometimes get Greek or Italian aspargus. I’m not sure how I feel about those, though I never knowingly had any. If you can, just wait until the regional season starts (here that’s May). Traditionally, Spargel is only harvested until Johanni, that’s around summer solstice on June 24th. After that, the stalls dissappear and restaurants will pack away their Spargelwochen menues for the next 46 weeks.