A Boke of Gode Cookery Presents

On preparing asparagus

PERIOD: Italy, 15th century | SOURCE: De Honesta Voluptate et Valetudine | CLASS: Authentic

DESCRIPTION: A simple dish of asparagus.


Boiled asparagus is laid out on a platter and salt, oil and vinegar are added. There are those who sprinkle it with herbs. Eaten as a first course, they combat flatulence in the stomach, they help clear the eyesight and gently soften the bowels. They are good for pains in the chest and spine and for intestinal complaints. There are those who cook them in wine and they are even more effective in this way.

- Andrews, Elizabeth Buermann. De Honest Voluptate. The First Dated Cookery Book. St. Louis: Volume V from the Mallinckrodt Collection of Food Classics, 1967.


  • fresh asparagus, cleaned & trimmed
  • salt 
  • olive oil
  • vinegar - red wine, white wine, or cider
  • "herbs" - basil, thyme, savory, hyssop, parsley, etc.; any period herb, in any combination
  • wine (optional)
Boil or steam the asparagus until just tender or al dente. Place in a serving dish, add a little salt, and gently toss with vinegar & oil and a little of the chosen seasonings. Serve at once.

OPTION: steam or boil the asparagus in a mixture of 2/3 water & 1/3 wine.

Metric, Celsius, & Gas Mark Equivalencies

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On preparing asparagus © 2003 James L. Matterer

A Boke of Gode Cookery Recipes

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