Dish on toast, and serve with Hollandaise, white, or other suitable sauce, or, if preferred, oiled butter.
Time.—About 20 minutes. Average Cost, from 2s. to 3s. 6d. per 100 heads. Seasonable from April to July.
Asparagus (Fr. asperges).—This plant, which belongs to the natural order Liliaceae, is a native of Great Britain. It is found growing on various parts of the sea coast, and in the fens of Lincolnshire, but it is smaller in size than the cultivated plant. At Kynance Cove, in Cornwall, there is a rocky island called "Asparagus Island," from the circumstance that this plant was once cultivated there. Asparagus is raised from seed, and the plants are usually allowed to remain in the ground for three years before being cut, after which they yield an annual supply.
1445.—ASPARAGUS WITH EGGS. (Fr.—Asperges aux Oeufs.)
Ingredients.—50 heads of asparagus, 1 pint of milk (or equal quantities of milk and water), 1 large head of lettuce finely-shredded, 1 medium-sized onion parboiled and cut into small pieces, 1 bay-leaf, 2 or 3 sprigs of thyme, 1½ ozs. of butter, the yolks of 2 eggs, 2 tablespoonfuls of flour, 1 teaspoonful of lemon-juice, salt and pepper, 6 or 8 nicely poached eggs.
Method.—Cut off the tops of the asparagus, and keep them in cold water until wanted. Bring the milk to boiling point, put in the stalks of the asparagus, lettuce, onion, bay-leaf, thyme, and salt, simmer gently for about 20 minutes, then rub through a fine sieve. Melt the butter in a stewpan, stir in the flour, cook slightly, then add the purée of vegetables, the milk in which they were cooked, and stir the mixture until it boils. Cool slightly, then add the yolks of eggs, and cook gently until they thicken, stirring meanwhile. Prepare the asparagus tops by boiling them from 10 to 15 minutes, and poach the eggs and trim them to a nice round shape. Add the lemon-juice to the purée, season to taste, pour it down the middle of a hot dish, arrange the eggs on either side, and garnish the top of the purée in the space between the two rows of eggs with the asparagus points.
Time.—About 40 minutes. Average Cost, from 3s. 9d. to 4s. 6d. Seasonable from April to July.
1446.—ASPARAGUS, FRENCH STYLE. (Fr.—Asperges à la Bonne Femme.)
Ingredients.—1 bundle or 100 heads of asparagus, 1 pint of milk (or equal quantities of milk and water), 1 head of lettuce finely shredded and cut into short lengths, 1 medium-sized onion parboiled and finely-chopped, 1 bay leaf, one sprig of thyme, 1½ ozs. of butter, 2 tablespoonfuls of flour, the yolks of 2 eggs, 1 teaspoonful of lemon-juice, salt and pepper, croûtes of buttered toast or fried bread, chopped parsley, strips of cucumber.
Method.—Wash and trim the asparagus, and tie it into 3 or 4 bundles. Bring the milk to boiling point, put in the asparagus, lettuce, onion,