Spargel nach Walliser Art
It’s already a classic move to serve your asparagus with ham—in the Wallis, they serve their stalks with local air-dried Rohschinken, tossing in tomatoes and some raclette for good measure.
Dishes “nach Walliser Art”, Wallis-style, typically feature these three ingredients, tomatoes, raclette, and Rohschinken, and can be applied to almost anything: hamburgers, pork chops, grilled cheese, Rösti (the last one I found at Cyberkoch, one of the most magnificent websites I have ever visited).
Walliser Rohschinken, or Hamma as it is know in the Walliser dialect, is a protected product—the meat must come from local pigs who lived (and died) exclusively in the region, and it is air dried four to ten weeks. The temperate, sunny conditions of the Wallis are perfect for drying meat, and locals have been doing it since at least the 16th century.
This easy recipe comes from Peter Bührer’s wonderful 1986 cookbook Schweizer Spezialitäten (that he wrote when he was just 25), a great collection of traditional dishes from all cantons, which my lovely friend Barbara lent to me.
Bührer himself is an interesting character, a jack-of-all-trades, finger-in-all-pies sort of fellow, who started as a chef at 17, wrote his first recipe book, delightfully titled Spargel, Einfach Spitze at 24, and has since had a long and illustrious career as a top chef, author, and consultant.
1 kg asparagus
100 g Walliser Rohschinken, cut in strips
150 g raclette or other hard cheese, grated
3 tomatoes, sliced
Preheat oven to 200 C / 400 F / gas mark 6.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Snap the woody ends off the asparagus and trim away any hard bits. Briefly blanch them in the water for about 3-4 minutes, until they turn deep green and have softened, but still retain a bit of bite (timing will depending on how thick they are).
Remove from the water and place them at the bottom of a large casserole dish, covering with the Rohschinken, then tomatoes, and topping with cheese.
Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the cheese is melted to your liking.
Walliser Rohschinken is an air-dried ham from the Wallis. Similar meats can be substituted, such as prosciutto.
No raclette? Gruyère or other hard cheeses work well too, even cheddar or mozzarella.
Serve with crusty bread or boiled potatoes.
Works well with green or white asparagus.