Asparagus and artichokes. Pointy, nobbly, sporting a particular shade of green tinged with lavender. That spells spring to me!
Leave it to Williams Sonoma to produce a set of salad plates to celebrate the humble asparagus.
The design is clean and simple. Each of the four plates has a central motif of a bundle of asparagus tied up with ribbon.
This one displays white asparagus whose pallor is achieved, I understand, by mounding up dirt around the plant while it is growing so the sunlight doesn’t penetrate. The stalks tend to be thicker, yet very tender, rendering it a great delicacy.
The blue glaze on the shoulder of the plates is a soft greyish turquoise; the pastel shade is unusual, and an effective foil for the greens, pinks and lavenders of the asparagus and ribbons.
I styled the table with lavender tumblers from Pottery Barn from a couple of years ago (now discontinued) and clear Trestle goblets by Fitz & Floyd. The napkins are from Pottery Barn this year in a shade called Wisteria (currently on deep discount if you’re interested).
The centrepiece was easy. Gather bunches of asparagus and artichokes and intersperse them with moss balls on a two-tier galvanized server (from Pier 1, discontinued). Presto. Done.
Shortly after I bought the plates on eBay, I discovered this asparagus shaped trinket box by Kaldun & Bogle. The delicate detail won me over immediately. I love the checked ribbon that ties the asparagus. The salt & peppers are also by Kaldun & Bogle, from Wayfair.
The markets in France sell oodles of fresh asparagus in the spring, as we discovered when staying in Sarlat a few years ago. The region is renowned for its production of both asparagus and strawberries (to say nothing of the foie gras and duck confit!). Yum!
Why not set a spring table to celebrate?
One of our favourite ways to serve asparagus is to roast some thicker stalks with thinly sliced shallots in a foil pouch on the BBQ, then gently steam some sugar snap peas and thinner stalks of asparagus, add edamame and toss it all together in a lemon parmesan vinaigrette. I’ll post the recipe when I get a minute.
Or whip up a goat cheese frittata with asparagus. In a large cast iron frying pan, sauté the asparagus for a few minutes in a butter/olive oil blend. Pour eggs beaten well with a touch of cream and a few ounces of goat cheese over the asparagus. Sprinkle additional goat cheese over the frittata and cook on a low temperature until it’s set (about 5 minutes). Finish under the broiler to set the top half. Watch it carefully – it only takes a few minutes. in It’s a great Easter brunch dish.
This is all making me hungry. One more peek at the table and then I’m going to get something to eat, probably featuring asparagus. 🙂
I’m sharing this post with Between Naps on the Porch.
Those lovely plates would get a lot of use at our house, starting in April. The French asperges begin coming into the market, but they produce mostly the common green that thrives in a warmer climate. The Germans only recently started eating that, because the borders were closed before the EU. The “real” (German spargel) mania begins a little later in the cooler German-speaking countries (and Alsace, whose culinary heart is still in Germany). It’s on every menu for every meal at every restaurant, served with hollandaise. The store windows are stuffed with eye-wateringly expensive tall spargel cookers and special tongs to handle the delicate stalks. Handling is everything. In order to properly prepare it, ideally one should have a German MIL or grandmother to teach just how much skin to peel with (naturally) a special swivel peeler, how much stalk to cut off (no snapping allowed!) and how to remove the scales from the tips. The peels are put in the cooking water to add more flavour. It should be all-white (no purple on the tips), fat, tender, and as pale as possible. Spargel snob-ism abounds–everyone believes their area’s is the best, and that purple-striped stuff from wanna-be producers is cast aside by discerning buyers. It generally retails at roadside stands for around $7/lb, but In high season the price goes down to $5. Shopping for it is like shopping the piazza for porcini with an Italian mama…heavy quizzing of the grower, smelling the aroma, discussing the colour (no touching allowed). The season is short (4 weeks in the west, 6 in the east), so everyone goes a bit crazy. A bit cray-cray? No…a lot. It’s total spargel insanity. This year peopIe are abuzz, afraid there will be no spargel for the early Easter…it’s a major catastrophe!! I can’t wait to get there! Now if I could just find those lavender tumblers…
Beatrice, your description is a riot! I can just picture the crazed competition. Food snobbery at its best!
When do you go? Are you planning a holiday soon? If so, have a wonderful time and please keep me posted on your spargel adventures. :).
As to the lavender tumblers, you might check with a Pottery Barn store. Who knows, they may have some rattling around somewhere. Ebay is another option.
Yes, I tried eBay and various other sources…hoping. I’ve found it hard to search Replacements by colour. We’ll be leaving for our Swiss-Austrian base in late April (excited to see the garden!) back to the hammer-and-tongs of renovation. Maybe I’ll plant some asparagus (lol). In early May we have to be in Locarno on Lago Maggiore for a few days, and we always have plenty of intra-Europe travel. Every summer is different. I’ll enjoy your tables as an antidote to my frazzled, “Now what box did I put the sieve in?’ existence.
That all sounds marvellous! I will look forward to updates as your renovations progress. It takes a certain amount of flinty courage to deal with renovations, even locally. I admire your chutzpah in working on them remotely. But 8m sure everything will be lovely.
If I find any more of the lavender glasses I’ll let you know!
Helen, I love the tablescape and asparagus. Long long ago, it grew wild in our yard and mom must have know some Germans to teach the prep. LOL
I don’t know where you keep all of the amazing china and glass, but please give us a look. At this point I am addicted to china and glass-a piece here and there in thrift shops. You see some amazing things donated when grandma passes away.
Myrna, it is amazing what people don’t seem to want when Grandma passes away! Thrift stores (and eBay, the online version) have many treasures!
I did a blog a while ago about storage, https://entertablement.mystagingwebsite.com/2017/06/organizing-tableware-where-does-she-store-all-that-stuff/ (I get that question a lot.)
Thanks for stopping by! Always great to hear from people who enjoy the blog.
That storage is impressive. Color me envious. Thanks for the link.
You’re welcome, Myrna. Thanks for visiting!
Just has asp tonight. One of my favourites. Your dishes are to die for. How do you find all this STUFF? I’ve been looking for a asp shaped plate to serve them in. Saw one at a craft show on CC and passed it up. Went back to get it and it was gone. He who hesitates is lost. Or, a loser. we actually had asp growing in the garden of our house in England and never bothered cultivating them. Shame on me. Maybe I’ll try on the Cape. Love your table setting once again!!
We love asparagus, also! It’s one of those veggies that’s great hot, cold, for every meal from breakfast through to dinner and snacks. Love it.
Kaldun & Bogle has an asparagus shaped plate http://www.kaldunandbogle.com/product-p/093155.htm
Also, keep your eye out on eBay.
I find the stuff all kinds of ways. Replacements’ website is a fabulous resource now they’ve added pictures to all the patterns, and you can sort by producer. For example, I went looking for one of Williams Sonoma’s patterns and then looked at more of them… and so on…
See you soon! xo
This is a great table, simple enough to be inviting and with plenty of detail and interesting pieces. Suits me to a T.
Thanks Linda. I’ve had the dishes for a while, waiting for the right opportunity to use them. The napkins from Pottery Barn were a fortuitous find.
The PB colour was gone when I checked after seeing your post. The only purple left is Napa Grape. A day late and a dollar short…
You might try calling your local store Beatrice, and have them check the inventory of other stores. They pull stuff offline when there is still inventory in the bricks and mortar stores. Good luck!
Too late…I just snagged 4 gorgeous 100% Belgian linen napkins from HG! $12!!! They are white with a very subtle delicate leaf tracery in palest pearly grey. I’m going to try to dye them, either with elderberry (sambucus nigra) or with the enormous 8″ blue-purple iris that bloom in June. Wish me luck!
Can’t beat HomeGoods, can you? I think either flower dye would make an interesting colour. Please keep me posted on how it works out! I was reading an article, I think in Victoria Magazine, on how to dye Easter Eggs with natural dyes, and they offered some similar ideas – beets, spinach, etc. The colours were beautifully delicate.
Very pretty table. I love the color. I recently found some vintage pieces in that same color and couldn’t resist them. The accessories that continue the asparagus theme really are fun. Your food looks great too.
You’re right, Lorri. That colour was popular in vintage pieces; the best keeps popping up! It’s a nice soft shade, isn’t it? What did you get? Plates, or other pieces?
The pattern is marked Cavalier eggshell made by Homer Laughlin. Replacements calls it Romance. Some of their photos appear more mint than grayish turquoise. It has an ivory center with a turquoise border that has a delicate floral design and a very thin silver colored band at the both inner and outer edges of the turquoise.. It was a partial set, 17 dinner plates, 8 cups and saucers and 6 bread plates. No salads or any bowls. So much of what I have already collected is white so I am not sure what I will pair with it. I actually took one of the saucers with me to see if I could find a fabric in the color. It was a small sewing department so not a lot of choices but the ones I did look at were not grayish.
Oh, what a gorgeous pattern. Mmmm! That would go with all kinds of things.
I found some Cynthia Rowley paisley napkins that incorporated that eau de nil shade at HomeGoods, so you might keep your eye out. Here is a link to a similar set on eBay, just to give an idea.
Might be easier to find a print with a few colors so you don’t have to worry about the exact March. A floral would e good, too. Napkins or salad plates.
Seventeen dinner plates! Great find, Lorri!
That is a terrific print. I hadn’t thought of a paisley or floral and your suggestion of looking for a fabric with a few colors is a great idea. My sister and i are hoping to get to a bigger town soon so I will check out the fabric stores there and if no luck consider ordering the one that you linked. Eau de nil is a term I hadn’t heard before. I like it.
I always like having prints that give me several options, and paisleys are really versatile that way. They also don’t seem to compete with other patterns, for whatever reason. It makes little sense, logically, because they’re so busy, but it works somehow! Happy hunting for fabric. Please let me know what you turn up ;).
Have a great day.
I use Bietkleed (Dutch antique paisley, sometimes mis-called “piano shawls”) as table toppers–they have some wonderful colours and are reversible. The only downside is that they are usually a couple of inches off of square. https://www.ebay.com/itm/ANTIQUE-COLORFUL-FOLKLORE-ARTS-CRAFTS-DUTCH-PAISLEY-SHAWL-BIETKLEED-RUNNER/152657871555?hash=item238b1e42c3:g:56QAAOSwP2FZjDku
Great idea, Beatrice! Very nice.
I really like the purple glasses with the blue-green asparagus plates and pink napkins. Great color combo!
Thanks, Kristie. As you can see, I love colour, too! Even if it is unfashionable. Lol.