Okra Salad + White Asparagus

I have two recipes in one post due to my long absence from ze blog.  We’ve used our location to it’s advantage over the past few weeks and enjoyed seeing friends and family in various areas. Every time I come back to Basel, it’s starting to feel more like home and the weather has been unbelievable.  With the start of spring, the first item to appear in the grocery stores: asparagus in all shapes, sizes, and colors!  I had heard of ‘asparagus season’ since we moved here.  This region seems to have a devotion to spring asparagus, especially white ones. I had never bought white asparagus as they seemed kind of creepy and not as healthy or nutritious as their green counterparts. Hearing all the rage and seeing them repeatedly at the supermarket, we took the plunge when we could buy a handful at the French farmer’s market.  Our Swiss friend warned us that you MUST peel the asparagus before you eat it.  Now, I assumed this was similar to needing to “peel” carrots or apples. Let me tell you – it is NOT the same. We did an experiment where we kept one asparagus with the skin…yuck.  Unless you like extremely bitter, roughage, peel the asparagus.  We also realized why one needs to buy the big, fat asparagus rather than the thin ones we bought (we were cheap) because peeling these things are ridiculously tedious and time consuming.  Definitely not akin to an apple or carrot.

We had these asparagus the “traditional” German method.

Ingredients:

– White Asparagus

– Ping of Salt

– 2 tbs Butter

– 1/2 Lemon

Recipe

– PEEL the Asparagus

– Boil water with salt

– Once boiling, squeeze the half lemon and put in the butter

– Cook asparagus for 22 min (or until you can spear them with a knife – our Swiss friend was very precise)

Surprisingly, the white asparagus actually punched a lot more flavor.  They were quite delicious…though I’m not sure if they’re worth the peeling ordeal.  Next time we’ll spring for the fat ones.

Finally, below is a quick recipe for an okra salad I often have for lunch.  I love okra because it’s slimy and gooey. In Japan you often eat it raw, but I’m not sure if it’s common practice elsewhere (I’ve only had deep fried okra down South, which is also delightful):

Ingredients:

– Okra

– Bonito Flakes

– Cucumber

– Pickled plum (optional)

– Soy sauce

Recipe

– Chop okra, cucumber, and pickled plum

– Mix together

– Sprinkle Bonito flakes and season with soy sauce