So what is the deal with Spargel (white asparagus) found all over the place in markets and little market stalls? After seeing my 7th stall, I had to know. So after lunch I decided I would find out more and buy some of this precious produce. There were signs telling people not to touch/handle/choose/pick. It was selling for 7 euro/kg.
We lucked out and ended up at a market table looking at apricots. After I bought said apricots, I asked to buy some spargel. There were 4 prices. The newest most beautiful and long fresh crop, the next group which has been harvested a few days ago (still looked great to me...), the somewhat shorter next group as the drying ends have been cut off and the last group of mostly half lengths.
The spargel are handled liked newborn babies. Their ends are lovingly wrapped in a damp cloth, away from the sun and proudly displayed in boxes partially covered with a light clear plastic wrap.
White asparagus aren't common found in our area. We have loads of the green type currently in season. Ironically green asparagus is a novelty in Munich and demands a crazy price because of its rareness -- 12 Euros and up per kilo.
The lady we spoke with (in English, after our broken German broke down) turned out to be from Chicago originally. Migrant workers from Romania and Poland mostly do the work of harvesting. It is quite a skill as the asparagus is buried with troughs on either side. The spargel is prized for it flawlessness.
She shared with us her secret cooking method. After peeling them, bake (not boil) with butter, salt and pepper, cover with tin foil. We modified by using olive oil, a frying pan and lid. Our spargel melted in our mouths like butter. It was delicious. So much so we went back the next day and the day after and the day after that to tell her so. Unfortunately we never found her again.
We are now hooked on the white asparagus. When our trip moved on to Amsterdam, I can tell you that the native Holland spargel does not come close to the German handling or quality.