Asparagi Bianchi - White Asparagus Bassano del Grappa
Bassano del Grappa, province of Vicenza, is located at the base of Mount Grappa on the Brenta River, just one hour by train from Venice and boasts a fine asparagus season which runs from April through May. In fact, the town is the centre of Italy when it comes to white asparagus.
The story of the vegetable is accidental; in the 1500's Bassano was hit with a hailstorm destoying the asparagus crop, forcing the farmers to harvest the part underground. Upon tasting the asparagus, its white color due to the lack of sunlight , the farmer was astounded to find how tasty and tender it was, and began to cultivate it underground.
Bassano has been famous for its asparagus at least since the mid 1500's: a receipt from from 1534 lists asparagus among the delicacies purchased for a banquet. Asparagus tasting is almost a religion in Bassano, everyone has something to say about the correct way to serve it.
The ingredients are 1 kg white asparagus of Bassano, 1 cup extravirgin olive oil, 8 eggs, vinegar, salt and pepper.
Boil the asparagus standing up in salted water for 10 to 15 minutes, not letting the tips touch the boiling water.
The asparagus is served with eggs, boiled 6 to 8 minutes so that the yolk is still creamy.
The eggs (2 per person) are then peeled and mashed with a fork, adding extra virgin olive oil (from Bassano) and vinegar, salt and pepper.
The asparagus are then dipped in the sauce starting at the tip.
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