White Asparagus has such a short season that you probably are a true foodie if you have ever had it, but especially if you have ever cooked it.
In fact, the season is so short (in some places only two weeks) that even foodies who are daring in the produce department might not have experience with white asparagus.
This is why it was the perfect challenge for the Five Star Foodie Make Over, hosted by hosted by Natasha of Five Star Foodie and Lazaro of Lazaro Cooks.
In going back and forth with other bloggers who are part of the Five Star Foodie Make Over group, this was a quite the challenge, because many could not find the ingredient. I was very lucky to see it at Whole Foods the week the challenge ingredient was announced. Since white asparagus is very different (in a sense) from green asparagus, I had to really think about how to make this shine.
Firstly, white asparagus is woody and must be trimmed all around.If you are not careful, it could even break. But, the flavor is very delicate and sweet and this is why this is considered a delicacy. Then, there is the method of obtaining white asparagus. How or why this was ever started or thought of, I know not, but white is asparagus is the same plant as green asparagus, but it is buried in dirt and not allowed to see the sun, which turns it green. And, to make even more ado about it, there are several white asparagus festivals held around the world, but the most famous festivals take place in Germany.
I’m not sure how the idea struck me, but but as I was peeling the woody layer, ribbons of pasta came to mind, and I knew this would be the perfect way to showcase this ingredient. I only used a bit of butter, cream, freshly grated Italian cheeses in very small measures to not overload the delicate taste. A few snips of fresh basil for some needed color and a spoon of butter shallots and this is good enough even for a royal wedding. Probably too late to tell Kate and William about this, but they did pick the right time of year to incorporate this unique and hard to find ingredient into the wedding lunch.
White asparagus (one bunch)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
4 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons freshly grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
salt, white pepper
basil for garnish
Peel asparagus with potato peeler, trim lower portion of woody stalk.
Once done, peel deeply into asparagus, turning after each peel to get ribbons.
Cook into boiling water for about 2 minutes.
Drain, set aside.
Saute shallots in pan with 1 tablespoon butter. Set aside.
In pan that will fit sauce and asparagus ribbons, add 1 tablespoon butter, milk, cheese. Add in asparagus, some salt and white pepper to taste.
Top with shallots, and basil garnish.
Note: If asparagus is thin enough, reserve a few tops for garnish.