Tuesday, March 22, 2016

White Asparagus with a Brown Butter Vinaigrette - plus 6 more favorite asparagus recipes


Everyone knows green asparagus, but it’s not often you find white asparagus. We’ve found it each time we visit France in early spring, but it’s a specialty here in the States. Luckily I just happen to find a nice bundle at our local Publix the other and promptly put it in my cart. Of course the color white makes it unique, but it is also milder and more delicate than the green variety. To me it has very faint hint of fresh artichoke flavor.

White asparagus is intentionally white because it’s kept from turning green. We’ve been told (in Provence) that the farmers cover the asparagus in the early spring before it sprouts to keep out the light and thus it is white instead of green. Cooking it is not any different that cooking the green variety. If the stalks are tough, you’ll want to peel them of course; otherwise just trim off the tough ends and poach them in softly boiling water for about 5 to 6 minutes.


When we were in Provence last year, I found this recipe on line at Gastronomer’s Guide for white asparagus served in a brown butter vinaigrette. Of course you could also make a Hollandaise sauce for the asparagus, but the savory brown butter vinaigrette with fresh lemons and sherry vinegar lends an air of freshness that a heavy Hollandaise would not. You’ll notice that I’ve used the bright red Aleppo pepper flakes, which I thought gave it a punch of color.

This is a sophisticated sounding dish, but not at all difficult to make. The bonus with this dish is that it can be served at room temperature, making it a candidate for a buffet. It’s a perfect side dish for any spring menu and would make a lovely accompaniment to a baked ham or roasted lamb for Easter.


White Asparagus with a Brown Vinaigrette
Adapted from Gastronomer’s Guide, serves 4
Printable Recipe

1 bunch white asparagus (or green if you can’t find white)
Fine sea salt such as Maldon
Low sodium, low fat beef broth
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
Aleppo chili flakes (or freshly ground black or white pepper)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley

Trim about 1” from the tough ends of the asparagus spears using a sharp knife. If desired, peel about 2/3 of each spear below the floret using a vegetable peeler, taking care not to break the asparagus.

Bring a skillet filled with about 2” of beef broth to a boil. Season with salt. Add asparagus and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Check for doneness, then remove to a serving platter & discard liquid from pan.

Meanwhile add the butter to a small saucepan and set over medium heat. Let butter turn a nutty brown, about 5 minutes, while swirling the pan to keep butter from foaming too much. Pour browned butter into a small bowl and whisk in lemon juice and vinegar. Season to taste with sea salt, then stir in parsley. Pour vinaigrette over the asparagus, sprinkle with Aleppo pepper flakes, and serve immediately.

Here are 6 more of our favorite asparagus dishes that have previously appeared on the blog that are perfect for Easter.


Asparagus spears drizzled with a lemon vinaigrette and garnished with sliced lemons. Grilled asparagus lovers take note - this recipe will work for you as well. Just grill the asparagus instead of poaching it, drizzle with the lemon vinaigrette, garnish with the lemon slices and you’re good to go.

Printable recipe
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Asparagus Mimosa, also known as Asparagus Goldenrod is a classic dish that will never go out of style. It is an elegant, easy to prepare dish that can be made ahead of time. It’s poached asparagus, served cold with a light vinaigrette and garnished with grated hard-boiled eggs and capers shown above or with chopped radishes shown below. Dishes such as this were a mainstay on the menus of the grand hotels in a bygone era. If you wish to grill the asparagus, toss the grilled asparagus with the vinaigrette and garnishes either with the grated eggs and capers or radishes.

Printable recipe with eggs & capers 
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Printable recipe with radishes 
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Grilled Asparagus with Melon & Fresh Mozzarella Cheese shown above is a very versatile recipe in that the asparagus can be cooked outside on a gas or charcoal grill or in your kitchen on a stove top grill, which is what we did. The melon and cheese make a great fresh topping full of flavor and have real eye appeal, plus it tastes great. What more can you ask for from a recipe?

Printable recipe 
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Asparagus with fig vinaigrette uses fig balsamic vinegar to make rich, dark vinaigrette, tossed in some chopped shallots, and served it over crispy poached asparagus at room temperature. Chopped Mission figs can be added to the garnish if you wish for even more fig flavor. Feel free to grill the asparagus rather than poach it, then top the asparagus with the fig vinaigrette and the garnishes.

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Asparagus served on a Bed of Arugula with Roasted Red Peppers & Kalamata Olives is super easy to prepare and very impressive on the plate.
Again, you could grill the asparagus if you wish, then toss in the vinaigrette, serve on the arugula and garnish with the roasted peppers and olives.

Printable recipe
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For better viewing, click photos to enlarge.

This will be shared with Foodie Friday at Rattlebridge Farms and Miz Helen’s Country Kitchen Full Plate Thursday. 

We hope everyone has a nice Easter  
and thank you for visiting My Carolina Kitchen. 




20 comments:

  1. They all sound amazing Sam, the lemon one is beautiful! Might have to add asparagus to my Easter menu:@)

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  2. Hello Sam,

    What a fabulous post on one of my favourite vegetables. I will be saving this post. White asparagus has such a unique taste. Happy Easter
    Helen x

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  3. What a beautiful spring dish! I have to try that brown butter dressing next time. It looks and sounds really tasty, Sam.

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  4. A wonderful way to serve white asparagus.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  5. I've only had white asparagus as a special dish at a restaurant. The one time I remember seeing it at the market, it was limp and past prime--passed by, I think, by unknowing cooks. All of your dishes remind me that we'll have those lovely spears soon!!

    Best,
    Bonnie

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  6. I remember having white asparagus in Paris. It was part of a meal that we made in a cooking class. Your embellishments look just perfect Sam. Happy Easter.

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  7. I could eat just that for lunch or dinner..

    we have been buying asparagus..I find it so tough here right now:( Your looks like royalty.

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  8. I forgot to wish you and M a very Happy Easter in Fl:) Your first? Or did you used to go back after?

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  9. We were in Holland several years ago visiting our kids and went to dinner at the height of Spargel season and it was served as the centerpiece of the meal along with a couple pieces of meat and potatoes three ways. I loved it and enjoyed seeing it growing. The fields looked like tall hills of potatoes. Since asparagus is harvested by individual spear over several weeks, I've often wondered how they do the white without knowing where it is.

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  10. I just watched a video and they get it as soon as it peeks through the top of the hill.

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  11. I love asparagus and these recipes all sound wonderful. I am making a shaved asparagus salad for dinner tonight and if it turns out I will publish the recipe. Thanks for sharing yours!

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  12. I'm not sure if asparagus isn't my favorite vegetable, although artichokes are pretty close. What a lovely dish for entertaining and would be perfect for Easter!

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  13. I'd love to be able to find white asparagus to take as a side for our Easter celebration at friends. Keep your fingers crossed, I've never bought it. But have seen it for sale.

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  14. Sam, We love asparagus and any of these recipes would be welcome on our table...except for the last one. (I personally don't care for roasted red peppers or olives) I can eat a pound of asparagus for dinner with a small piece of meat and I'm a happy camper! Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

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  15. I love asparagus, but I have never eaten the white, though I have heard of it. Thank you for sharing all the lovely recipes Happy Spring with love Janice

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  16. Your asparagus recipes have interesting sauces. At Sprouts supermarket I bought a big bunch of very thin asparagus, so we have been eating them almost every night. They are so thin that I cook them in simmering water for 2 minutes only. I have been using only Greek vinaigrette on them, with Feta cheese, but I’ll keep your ideas in mind. I also enjoyed your post on Boeuf Bourguignon. My mother made a good one, but when I was in San Francisco I used the one Julia Child had in her book. When I go to visit my cousin in France, she always cook meats that are not often found here. Last time she cooked une tête de veau. Do they cook these here?

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    1. Vagabonde, I know what they are, but I've never seen them on a menu here. My BIL tried them at an upscale restaurant in Boston once & said they were served in a cream sauce. He said they were wonderful and would most definitely have them again. Happy belated Easter to you & your family.
      Sam

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  17. Woo hoo, Sam! I'm so happy to see you're back at blogging!!! I've been a little busy lately with Bill's knee replacement surgery so I missed your earlier posts after your move, and have been reading them all now. Sounds like things are going well at your new home and Ft. Myers is definitely a beautiful warm place to live. Love the white asparagus! I had it for the first time when we lived in Germany; very abundant there, and loved it. Wish it were available here though. The green will be great with that brown butter vinaigrette. All your asparagus recipes look and sound delicious! It's good to see you've returned, take care and happy house decorating!

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  18. Really, is there anything more gorgeous and delicious than white asparagus? Yours look fabulous with the brown butter sauce. I had some for the first time many years ago in Paris. Totally divine and I never have forgotten where I was.

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  19. These all look marvelous. Back in the Fifties, fresh asparagus was seldom available in Florida grocery stores. My mother would fancy up canned asparagus spears with brown butter and pimentos. It was delicious -- but mushy. I plan to work my way through these different presentations.

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