I noticed some really good quality white asparagus while visiting Whole Foods the other day. It made me think about how abundant this vegetable is in this country compared to ten years ago.
For some of us, white asparagus may be a bit intimidating, but really, there is nothing to be worried about. There are, of course, a couple of things to keep in mind when cooking white asparagus. For starters, white asparagus is a lot thicker than regular green asparagus, which means it should be peeled and boiled before being served.
The best peeling technique is to hold it from the tip and start peeling it from the top all the way down then rotate it and keep peeling down. Making sure you get all the skin off. The tip doesn’t have to be peeled since the tip is usually soft. Make sure your pot is large enough to cover the asparagus; a stockpot is ideal or perhaps a large Le Creuset braiser.
Along with enough water to cover the asparagus, juice half a lemon and add a tablespoon of sugar to the water; the lemon will keep your asparagus nice and white. Let the water boil first, then add the asparagus and bring it to a slow boil for about 15 to 20 minutes. Boiling the asparagus is very important; otherwise, it would be chewy and hard to eat. Test one piece, it should be moist and soft, ready to be drained. I recomend serving right away.
Here are some ideas for serving white asparagus:
- With a hollandaise sauce
- Paired with potatoes
- Simply add melted butter and parsley.
- As a side dish to your favorite fish or meat.
For added flavor, white asparagus can also be grilled, but don't forget to boil it first. Grilled asparagus is delicious when drizzled with the Cream of Balsamic that we carry at The Chopping Block. Pair it with a grilled potato salad with mustard and dill. It's white asparagus season, so start experimenting!
If you would like to learn about unusual vegetables and what to do with them, come along for a tour of the Lincoln Square Farmers Market with Chef Tara this Thursday. You'll shop the market with her and then come back for an impromptu cooking class based on what looks good. It's a great lesson in cooking with the seasons. Don't miss this special class!
Farmers Market Tour and Cooking Class Thursday, June 25 6pm