Germany Recipes – Paper Clip Asparagus


For the Crayfish:

  • 32 fresh crayfishes
  • 5 shallots (small onions)
  • 1 fennel cut in quarters (in 4 pieces)
  • 1 bay – leaf
  • 1 teaspoon of star anise
  • 1 teaspoon of white peppercorn
  • cumin
  • 1 celery stick 
  • sea salt
  • 1 chilli
  • butter
  • 1 lime
  • a little bit of chervilFor the asparagus:
  • 20 spears of asparagus same size
  • salt
  • sugar
  • 160 g. butter
  • 24 big paper-clips
  • 8 pieces of grease proof paper


1. Place a big pot of water on the cooker to boil, add sea salt, garlic, cumin, celery sticks, white peppercorn, fennel, star anise, a chilli, a bay leaf and shallots and let it simmer for 10 minutes. This will be used as the stock to cook the crayfish later on.

2. Place another large saucepan with plenty of water and a bit of sea salt, and let it boil.

3. Then swiftly peel the spears of asparagus. Place them in bundles of 5 on two pieces of grease proof paper before seasoning with salt and sugar and coating them with a little melted butter.

4. Fold the grease proof paper like a book and close it with the paper clips. Put the parcels next to each other on the bottom of the oven (don’t use a baking tray), so that the sugar caramelises.

5. Cook it for about 15-20 minutes at 220 C. While the asparagus are cooking, return to the crayfish.

6. Strain the vegetables out of the stock, and bring the stock to the boil for another 10 minutes.

7. Place the crayfish which are still alive at this point, into the large saucepan with salted water for 30 seconds. Take them out and put them in a tray with iced water to cool them down and prevent them from cooking any more.

8. Take them out of the iced water, turn their tails and pull to take out the intestines. Then, place them into the pot where the stock has been cooked for the aroma to go into the crayfish. On average, 1 minute to a 100 grams worth of crayfish.

9. Cool them into iced water again and peel them with a pair of scissors.

10. Heat some butter in a pan until brown, add the peeled crayfish, the juice of 1 lime and some chervil.

11. Remove the ‘paperclip asparagus’ parcels from the oven, place each of them on a plate, cut them open and drizzle the crayfish over the opened parcel.

Recipe from Kolja Kleeberg (Chef – VAU, Berlin)