As the popularity of asparagus can be traced as far back as ancient Greece, Vincents Restaurant is happy to support the Greek economy and farmers with its first order of organic green asparagus from banks of the river Achelons.
After having roasted, pureed, whipped, creamed and foamed them, its time to say goodbye to the root vegetables of winter; which frankly, were starting to become a bit boring; and a big hello to this vibrant, verdant vegetable which marks the start of summer for serious foodies.
Asparagus has been grown and used both as a remedy and a food for centuries, so here is a recipe for cooking asparagus from the oldest surviving book of recipes, written in the third century AD, by Gavious Apicius. Another recipe in the book recommends preparing asparagus with warblers but I decided to sing myself. We aren’t using that recipe.
‘Patina de asparagis frigida’ – Asparagus casserole à la Apicius. It's one of the few foods that is deemed a true finger food and can be eaten as such in restaurants, with some flourish if you feel so inclined.
Indeed, that is the best way to savour its taste - just asparagus dipped in rich, decadent Bordier butter. There is something quite sensuous about eating it this way and it’s said to have aphrodisiac properties. That’s possibly why it was banned by the nuns who taught in girl's schools in the 19th century.
So, flop out the napkin, get those fingers moving and come on in, asparagus awaits!
Widely cultivated by the Romans, Greeks and Egyptians, it soon spread all over Europe as people were enchanted by this unique vegetable. Latvians, through no fault of their own, are still relatively new to asparagus although it featured in our great-grandmothers' cookbooks. However, Khrushchev in his wisdom, decided that asparagus fields should be replaced by corn and all but wiped out its cultivation during the Soviet era.
Asparagus abounds in Vitamins A, a bunch of B's, C, E, folic acid, calcium, is rich in anti-oxidants, has next to no calories or fat, and zero cholesterol. If asparagus had been promoted as a healthy vital supplement for all sports instead of the Latvian invention- Mildronat, Maria Sharapova would still have a career and sponsors.