Category Archives: Asparagus

Asparagus Gastronomy in Shizuoka City!

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French white asparaguses with Italian Summer Truffles at Solio!

Asparaguses have been a favorite at Japanese, French and Italian Restaurants in Japan and Shizuoka for such a long time that we tend to forget that they came late in this country in spite of Japan being the 3rd largest importer of the vegetable after the United States and the European Union. They were first used as ornamental plants in the 1800’s. The first cannery appeared in Hokkaido in 1920. The Japanese developed a taste for green asparagus and consumption of the latter exceeded tahat of white asparaguses in 1978. Now, Japan produces a lot of its own white and green asparaguses to the tune of 24,000 tons in 1998!
Restaurants in Shizuoka City have the choice to use green or white asparaguses grown locally or white asparaguses imported mainly from France and Italy in spite of China being the biggest exporter in the world.

Here a only a few examples of what to expect in Shizuoka City alone! If I find more I7ll make sure to add them to this article!

TETSUYA SUGIMOTO (French Restaurant)

ASPARAGUS-SUGIMOTO-1

I was served these white asparaguses from Hokkaido as an appetizer by Chef Tetsuya Sugimoto/杉本哲也さん in his typically artistic but so simple-looking manner!

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Boiled to perfection and served with a light sauce made with Shizuoka-bred pheasant bouillon and Japanese (yes, you read it well!) fermented butter!

SOLIO (Italian Restaurant)

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French white asparaguses with Italian Summer Truffles at Solio!
Note the very generous amount of finely shaved Italian Summer Truffles offered by Chef Takehiko Katoh/加藤武彦!

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A beautifully-prepared half poached egg with a very soft white and a yolk just past running point!
Mixing your asparaguses, truffles and egg is just such little sin!

PISSENLIT (French Restaurant)

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This was part of a fish dish that Chef Toru Arima/有馬亨さん concocted with vegetables represented by green asparaguses served topped with Hollandaise sauce!

ASPARAGUS-PISSENLIT-2

The whole dish!

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White asparagus with scallops!

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Seasoned with local grated karasumi/Boutargue/Botarga/mullet eggs!

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With a simple butter sauce liaising the juices of the asparagus and scallops!

Still looking for more as promised!

Tetsuya SUGIMOTO
420-0038 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Umeya, 2-13, 1F
Tel./Fax: 054-251-3051
Opening hours:11:30~14:30, 17:30~21:30
Holidays: undecided (do make a call first!)
Credit cards OK
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)
Entirely non-smoking!

PISSENLIT
420-0839 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Takajo, 2-3-4
Tel.: 054-270-8768
Fax: 054-627-3868
Business hours: 11:30~14:30; 17:00~22:00
Closed on Tuesdays and Sunday evening
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)
Credit Cards OK
Entirely non-smoking!

SOLOIO
420-0858 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Tenmacho, 9-7, Kita, 1
Tel./fax: 054-260-4637
Business hours: 16:00~24:00
Closed on Monday
Credit cards OK
Private parties welcome!
Happy hour: 16:00~17:00: 1,000 yen set-3 appetizers plate and 1 glass of house wine!
Smoking allowed BUT Non-smoking until 20:00 everyday!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

BULA KANA in Fiji
Kraemer’s Culinary blog by Frank Kraemer in New York,Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton, Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

HIGHOCTANE/HAIOKU by Nick Itoh in Shizuoka City

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Japanese-style Butter and Soy Sauce fried Scallops and Asparaguses

Green asparaguses are still on the market and cheaper fresh small (“baby”) scallops are readily available.
Here is a very simple snack that should please even kids all over the world!

INGREDIENTS: for 2 people

-Baby scallops: 16
-Gree asparaguses: 4 thin to medium thickness
-White wine or Japanese sake: 2 tablespoons
-Butter: as appropriate, about 10 grams
-Soy sauce: 1~1.5 tablespoons
-Salad oil: as appropriate

RECIPE

Boil the asparaguses lightly (60%) and cut in small trunks.

pour some salad oil in a frypan.
Drop in the baby scallops and fry for a lttle while. Add white wine or sake. Turn fir to low. Cover with lid and steam fry for a while.

After the wine or sake has almost completely reduced, add the asparaguses, soy sauce and butter.
Stir or sautee a couple of times and serve!

So simple and delicious!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton, Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, 47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box,
Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Cooking Cute, Timeless Gourmet, Bento Bug, Ideal Meal, Bentosaurus, Mr. Foodie (London/UK), Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in kanzai by Nevitt Reagan!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Japanese-style Pork and Asparagus Rolls

Green asparaguses are still in season and combined with meat they make for a such a tasty snack or appetizer!
And there is nothing difficult about it!

INGREDIENTS: For 4 people

-Thin slices of pork belly: 200 g
-Asparaguses (medium size): 9
-Japanese sake: 50 cc (1/4 cup)
-Soy sauce: 50 cc (1/4 cup)
-Mirin/Japanese sweet sake: 50 cc(1/4 cup)
-Cornstarch: 1 tablespoon
-Water: 1 tablespoon
-Sesame oil: as appropriate
-Salt & Black pepper: as appropriate

RECIPE:

First boil the asparaguses to 90% tender and then fry them for 2 minutes.

Divide the pork belly slices into 3 batches and stretch them side by side according to the length of the asparaguses.

Sprinkle the pork with salt and pepper. Roll three asparaguses in each batch of pork belly slices. You should come out with 3 big rolls with the indicated proportions.

Heat sesame oil in a frypan and fry the rolls all over their surface until they reach a nice cooked color.

Add sake, soy sauce and mirin and simmer for 2 or 3 minutes over alowered fire and under a lid.
Dissolve cornstarch in water and add to rolls.
Cut and serve as soon as the sauce has attained a nice texture!

So easy!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton, Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, 47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box,
Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Cooking Cute, Timeless Gourmet, Bento Bug, Ideal Meal, Bentosaurus, Mr. Foodie (London/UK), Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in kanzai by Nevitt Reagan!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Japanese Vegetables 5: Asparaguses

asparagus-varieties

Asparagus has been used from very early times as a vegetable and medicine, owing to its delicate flavour and diuretic properties. There is a recipe for cooking asparagus in the oldest surviving book of recipes, Apicius’s third century AD De re coquinaria, Book III. It is said that it was cultivated by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, who ate it fresh when in season and dried the vegetable for use in winter. It lost its popularity in the Middle Ages but returned to favour in the seventeenth century.

It is recognized in many quarters as natural medicine:
-Asparagus rhizomes and root are used ethnomedically to treat urinary tract infections, as well as kidney and bladder stones.
-Asparagus is also believed to have aphrodisiac properties (this belief is at least partially due to the phallic shape of the shoots).

FACTS:

-Season (in Japan): May~June
They are at their best March~June in the Northern Hemisphere, but can be obtained all year round thanks to state-of-the-art greenhouse cultivation.

-Analytic data (as per 100g):

Energy: 22 kcal
Water: 92.6 g
Carbohydrates: 3.9 g

Inorganic qualities:
Potassium: 270 mg
Iron: 0,7 mg
Zinc: 60 mg

Vitamins:
A alpha caroatene: 380 microg
B1: 0.14 mg
B2: 0.15 mg
B6: 0.12 mg
Leafy acid: 190 microg
C: 15 mg

Dietary fibers: 1.8 g

HEALTH FACTS:

-When combined with seaweed, or carrot, or broccoli, or spinach, provides stamina and helps combat cancer and colds.

-When combined with shellfish, or chicken, or turnips, or red-fleshed fat fish, helps combat liver problems and provides stamina.

-When combined with okra, or avocado, or celery, or garlic, heps combat cancer, high blood pressure and heart diseases.

-When combined with onion, or codfish, or tofu (especially yuba), or konnyaku/devil’s tongue tuber-elephant’s foot tuber, helps with qaulity and flow of blood, helps combat obesity and blood vessel hardening.

VARIETIES:
Most popular varieties are shown in the picture above: White, Green and “wild-style” (apeelations vary!)

asparagus-wild

Asparaguses are abundant in the wild, but they grow very quickly and get too hard for consumption.
The wild ones picked in their natural environment are my favourite as I fondly remember picking them up as a soldier in the South of France during our drills and cooking them in simple omelettes!

asparagus-violet

Violet asparaguse are very popular in any restaurants!

asparagus-mini

Mini-asparaguses are ever so popular in Japan thanks to their practical size.

TIPS:

-Choose asparaguses with a clean cutting surface. No black spots should appear.

-The darker the colour, the better. As for white asparaguses, choses with a “wet cutting”

-When storing your asparaguses in the fridge, have them stand upright in a long narrow container with their foot wrapped in wet kitchen paper. Discard bent asparaguses on the supermarket stands.

-Choose green asparaguses with the smallest possible foliage along the stems and dark tips.

-When boiling them, either boil them stading upright inside a pasta mesh container, or absolutely flat in a sauce pan. Do not bend them.

-Asparaguses are best digested when lightly fried with oil.

-If Asparaguses cannot be obtained directly from the farmer, lightly peel but keep yop half as it is to preserve Vitamins.

RECIPES:

uzu-41

Recipes are endless, but my favourite is the large green asparaguses and mozzarella gratin as prepared and served at Uzu/うず Izakaya in Shizuoka City!

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES:
Warren Bobrow, Bread + Butter, Zoy Zhang, Hungry Neko, Think Twice, Frank Fariello, Mangantayon, Hapabento, Elinluv Tidbit Corner, Tokyo Terrace, Maison de Christina, Chrys Niles,Lexi, Culinary Musings, Wheeling Gourmet, Comestiblog, Chronicles Of A Curious Cook, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Palate To Pen, Yellin Yakimono Gallery, Tokyo Terrace, Hilah Cooking, More than a Mount Full, Arkonite Bento, Happy Little Bento; 5 Star Foodie; Jefferson’s Table; Oyster Culture; Gourmet Fury; Island Vittles; Good Beer & Country Boys; Rubber Slippers In Italy; Color Food daidokoro/Osaka;/a; The Witchy Kitchen; Citron Et Vanille, Lunsj Med Buffet/Estonian Gastronomy (English), Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Chrisoscope, Agrigraph, The Agriculture Portal to shizuoka!

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