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 08
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 08
This Hungarian recipe for asparagus steamed pudding or spargapudding is a savory dish that can be served as a vegetarian main course, appetizer or side dish.
Since the asparagus is peeled, spears that are a little past their prime will work fine. This can be made in a steamed pudding mold or pot with a lid.
03 of 08
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.
04 of 08
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.Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08
Eastern European Salmon-Asparagus Rolls Recipe
Eastern Europeans love smoked or brined fish. This classy-yet-easy dish of smoked salmon and asparagus easily can pass as an appetizer, brunch dish, salad or light lunch. Brined salmon like lox can be substituted for the smoked salmon.
06 of 08
Polish Spring Salad (Sałatka Wiosenna) Recipe
This recipe for Polish spring salad or sałatka wiosenna uses the bounty of springtime -- radishes, green onions, pencil-thin asparagus, and peas.
Poles like to chop their veggies finely and add hard-cooked eggs to their salads, and then dust them with the ubiquitous sweet paprika for color. If eggs aren't your thing, substitute cubed cheese.
07 of 08
Eastern Europeans love chives. Chives belong to the same family as onions, leeks, shallots and garlic. They are native to Asia and Eastern Europe and dried bunches were once hung in houses to ward off disease.
08 of 08
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.