Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Les Asperges



Every Spring, a visit to an Asparagus farm is practically obligatoire for Karen and I. There are many dotted around the Dordogne valley, inevitably they're beautiful places that have been in families for generations and a rendevous is almost Le Sacre du Printemps, a true rite of Spring.



This is Monsieur Leopold Mazere who, as he put it, has lived here at the farm for seventy years and some. I think he was slightly bemused when myself and Karen, together with her Mum parked up, jumped out of the car and proceeded to take photos and swap pleasantries in quick succession yesterday afternoon, disturbing the peace after a long alfreso lunch.



The spears are graded into premier and deuxieme choix, the first choice being the fattest most perfectly formed. We bought two kilos of second choice as the plan was to make penne pasta with asparagus, simply the peeled and cooked spears folded into cooked penne together with a little creme fraiche, tarragon and a grating of parmasan.



Located just between Sarlat and Beynac, this has to be one of the most idyllic farm properties around. A true Perigordine maison built with a perfect courtyard planted with Plane trees which are dutifully clipped or pollarded so that by high Summer they provide much welcome shelter under a canopy of large leaves.



Not only is the property idyllic, so is the location. Panoramic views to the chateau at Beynac testify to that. If ever there was an incentive to go and buy some Asparagus, this is it.

18 comments:

  1. Thanks. "this has to be one of the most idyllic farm properties around" is quite a recommendation.

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  2. Beautiful, as usual! Did you happen to see how he blanched the asparagus so that it would stay white?

    I tried turning a dark brown bucket over a crown and that worked, but I could only do one crown at a time. However, now I get what Europeans know about white asparagus! The combination of white and being cut just before I cooked them in butter made them just wonderful.

    So much so that if I can't come up with a better way to blanche them, I'm buying several black buckets this coming winter so I can do more than only one crown at a time!

    Thank you for the lovely pictures again.

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  3. Beautiful! Do they grow them in the dark, to keep them white?

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  4. Well cooked Asparagus - not over cooked of course - beautiful.

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  5. I'm not convinced that white Asparagus is any better than green, though perhaps I'm the only one over here.

    It looked to me that the asparagus mounds were covered with black plastic to blanche them.

    I found another method here http://www.marthastewart.com/article/asparagus-blanching-box

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  6. Wow, it's really beautifull. I'm not a fan of that kind of asparagus myself, I prefer the skinny dark green wild ones, they have soo much more flavor. After studying in Montpellier for a few years my heart is torn between love of they country and absolute disgust at the terrible beurocracy... maybe with time I'll learn to live with it!

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  7. Lucky you, fresh white asparagus! Reminds me of a long, cold early spring near Lepizig, and fields and fields of them. I love that you added tarragon, a sort of deconstructed Bearnaise...

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  8. This looks quite beautiful. We have asparagus in the garden but not sure it is worth the space it takes up for such a short time of harvesting. Diane

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  9. PARADISE! I am in love.

    All spring simple pleasures,

    Sharon Lovejoy Writes from Sunflower House and a Little Green Island

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  10. Wonderful scenery and photos - white asparagus is not usually seen in Australian markets but it tastes so nice!!

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  11. Yum -- the asperges and the maison!

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  12. ROB!!!
    I was reading this just before making my dinner ....now I'm craving asparagus!

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  13. I do hope that there will still be some of those magnificent white spears hanging around when I visit you in June. Here in California, we are getting them from Chile and I have been testing some new recipes...

    The best result was poaching them in a mixture of orange juice and a touch of water with a little walnut oil... when tender remove, and add a touch more OJ, reduce to a loose syrup...of course a swirl of butter at the end doesn't hurt!!!

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  14. I think that am in a minority ~ dare I confess to it ~ I do not like asparagus but I think that those views would entice me nevertheless. Hope that you and Karen and her mum enjoyed that special pasta dish.

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  15. The farm and its views are very special indeed ~ beautiful!

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  16. wow what beautiful place...You are so lucky to have seen such a beautiful spot on the planet.... wish I was there. I can easily place myself on the patio with a bit of vin rouge.
    Just lovely

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  17. Now that is how I remember asparagus from Germany. My mom was shocked when she came to the states to see green asparagus, but I've gotten used to it! What a beautiful piece of property; I could go there all the time.

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  18. I love white asparagus. Here in the US, there is some variety of very wimpy, stringly looking white asparagus that is sold at "gourmet" shops, but they taste and look nothing like those I've had in Europe.

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