mercredi 12 mai 2010

White Asparagus

White asparagus is a highly prized item in France. It’s more tender than green asparagus, with a bit less flavor, and it’s more expensive too. But it makes your pee smell just as much as green asparagus.

Personally, I prefer to cook with green asparagus because I find the flavor stronger therefore and more agreeable, as I really like asparagus. White asparagus is quite nice, however, cold with just a bit of dressing as a simple salad.

White asparagus is found commonly in jars here in France, which is perfectly acceptable. When cooking raw stalks it is necessary to peel the outer skin and trim the tough ends. The tips cook faster than the ends, so tie the stalks in a bunch with string and cook them standing up in boiling water, the tips poking out of the water, until tender.

Why the white color? Actually, white asparagus is made white by covering the plant with soil to block the production of chlorophyll.

White asparagus goes particularly well with citrus flavors in a salad, like the one below.

White Asparagus, Orange and Arugula Salad


•2 bunches of white asparagus, trimmed
•2 oranges, peeled
•1 1/2 cups of arugula (roquette)
•1/2 Spanish onion, sliced into thin rings

•60 ml good quality, extra virgin olive oil
•30 ml red wine vinegar
•1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
•A pinch of sea salt
•Freshly ground black pepper

1.Use a sharp knife to slice the pith off the oranges and discard. Slice the oranges into segments and place in a mixing bowl. Set aside.
2.Blanch the asparagus (1 to 2 minutes), then refresh in a bowl of cold water, drain and halve length-ways.
3.Add asparagus to orange segments along with the onion rings and arugula.
4.Whisk red wine vinegar, extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl to combine, toss through salad. Serve immediately.

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