Eastern Europeans love asparagus, known as sparga in Hungarian, szparagi in Polish, spargla in Serbian and sparanghel in Romanian.
White asparagus isn't a separate hybrid. They start out like green asparagus. What keeps them white is the deprivation of light. Without chlorophyll, the green is gone.
Purple asparagus, however, ARE a different hybrid. Their flavor is reminiscent of artichokes and they get their color from anthocyanins just like grapes and red cabbage. They turn green on cooking... and cook more quickly than conventional spears. They're also more expensive!
01 of 04
Hard-cooked eggs are very popular in Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, Ukraine and other Eastern European countries.
In the old days, it was a relatively economical source of protein for farmers who usually raised chickens.
My mother loved hard-cooked eggs over toasted bread smothered with white sauce or béchamel. I've added the asparagus to her recipe.
02 of 04
This easy cream of asparagus soup, known as Krem Sup iz Sparzhi in Russian, is made simply with asparagus, water, milk, and a roux. That's it!
It's a pretty pastel-colored soup perfect as the first course of a fancy luncheon, party or anytime you have an abundance of asparagus. Low-fat milk can be substituted for whole milk.
03 of 04
This asparagus-pea soup recipe is made with two iconic spring vegetables. Its vibrant green color, achieved by not overcooking the veggies, makes it a real standout, especially in a white bowl. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream, if desired.
04 of 04
This leek-and-potato tart recipe combines all the veggies of spring -- leeks, new potatoes, and dill. Fresh peas and asparagus can be added, if desired, for variety.
This can be baked as a free-form tart or in a 15-inch springform tart pan. Speed things up and slim things down a bit by using an 11-ounce can of ready-made, refrigerated bread stick dough or thin pizza crust dough instead of puff pastry.