With a sharp knife scrape the stems of the asparagus lightly, but very clean, from within one to two inches of the green tender points, throw them into cold water as they are done, and when all are ready, tie them in bunches of equal size; cut the large ends evenly, that the asparagus may be all of the same length, and put it into plenty of boiling water prepared by the directions of page 229. Cut a round of bread quite half an inch thick, and after having pared off the crust, toast it a delicate brown on both sides. When the stalks of the asparagus are tender, lift it out directly, or it will lose both its colour and its flavour, and will also be liable to break; dip the toast quickly into the water in which it was boiled, and dish the vegetable upon it, with the points meeting in the centre. Send rich melted butter to table with it. In France, a small quantity of vinegar is stirred into the sauce before it is served; and many persons like the addition. Asparagus may be preserved for a day or two sufficiently fresh for use, by keeping the stalks immersed in an inch depth of cold water; but it is never so good as when dressed directly it is cut, or within a few hours after.
20 to 25 minutes.
Abroad, boiled asparagus is very frequently served cold, and eaten with oil and vinegar, or a sauce Mayonnaise.
This is a convenient mode of dressing asparagus, when it is too small and green to make a good appearance plainly boiled. Cut the points so far only as they are perfectly tender, in bits of equal size, not more than the third of an inch in length; wash them very clean, and throw them into plenty of boiling water, with the usual quantity of salt and a morsel of soda. When they are tolerably tender, which will be in from ten to twelve minutes, drain them well, and spread them on a clean cloth; fold it over them, wipe them gently, and when they are quite dry put them into a clean stewpan with a good slice of butter, which should be just dissolved before the asparagus is added; stew them in this over a brisk fire, shaking them often, for eight or ten minutes; dredge in about a small teaspoonful of flour, and add half that quantity of white sugar; then pour in boiling water to nearly cover the asparagus, and boil it rapidly until but little liquid remains: stir in the beaten yolks of two eggs, heap the asparagus high in a dish, and serve it very not The sauce should adhere entirely to the vegetable, as in green peas a la Francaise.