Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Time for Asparagus from Landes!

Violet top of Asparagus from Landes

Maybe you know that Landes, where I live, is the kingdom of Asparagus? Last week the Asparagus harvest started here! Finally! One month late, because since winter had been colder than usual, the soil took longer to reach the necessary temperature.  Yesterday I went to get my first shot of fresh asparagus - I say shot because it is very easy to become dependent on the fresh ones - here in Castets at the Copa, cooperative. You buy they in boxes of five kilos! Yeah, it is a lot, but they can be stored for up to three days and also frozen (peeled). In my box you only see the tops, but you can also buy the whole long ones.

Five kilo box of Asparagus from Landes

Don't believe I am a lonely fool promoting the local products, they are protected by a quality label called IGP - Indication Géographique Protégée - which means that the asparagus from here have a unique quality, linked to this place and that you won't get the same from somewhere else. This is official. Check out for the name Asperges des Sables des Landes.

White and violet asparagus from Landes

Why are they so good here? The most important factors are the sandy soil and the ocean climate, both necessary to obtain the finest, most delicate asparagus you have ever seen.  You find three different versions: the white one that grows and matures under the soil, never touched by the sun, the violet one, which gets a tiny bit of sun on its head, and the green one, that grows in the sun. The two first ones must be peeled before they are cooked, the green one can be eaten as it is. They have different taste, where the white one is considered the finest and most delicate. I often chose the green ones for their colour!  Now, let me see, what can I make with my fresh asparagus... boiled, in the oven, soup?

Copa Dax, my asparagus shop

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