Saturday night’s dinner was planned – Pan-seared steaks, Hasselback Potatoes and Zapped Broccoli with Garlic and Lemon. The steak recipe was new. Zapped Broccoli would be quick, easy and timing while cooking a new recipe wouldn’t be an issue. All it takes is a couple of minutes in the micro-wave. While Hubby and I did our weekly shopping, I grabbed a bag of Broccoli and tossed it into our cart. Only a few more produce items to pick up and it would be off to the meat counter. There, on the opposite side of the produce section, resting gloriously alongside their green cousins, were bundles of white asparagus. We’ve only had white asparagus once, while dining out. The price tag in the store was a little shocking – nearly three times the price of green asparagus. Oh, but from what I could remember, white asparagus was delicious. I could not resist. Out with the broccoli, in with the beautiful, pale asparagus.
When we got home, I did a little research on White Asparagus. I am so glad I did. I had planned to rinse them, snap off the woody ends and pan-sear the spears. Very bad idea. To begin with, white asparagus has a stiff stalk that will snap easily, and not necessarily at the “woody” ends. The thin outer skin is bitter, and must be removed prior to cooking. While the asparagus can then be cooked as you would any asparagus, the traditional way is to boil the stalks.
While I decided to boil the asparagus, salted water seemed a little boring, so I added some lemon juice to allow the flavor to penetrate the freshly peeled stalks.
The results were wonderful. The asparagus was tender without becoming “mushy”. The flavor of the asparagus itself is sweet. A little butter and season were all that were required to make a side dish that was beyond yummy.
Simple White Asparagus
1 Bunch White Asparagus
Salt (for water)
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
1 Tablespoon Butter, Softened
1/2 Tablespoon Lemon Herb Seasoning
Cut about 1 inch from bottom of each spear. Gather the asparagus, tie with kitchen twine at bottom, middle and top to create a nice bundle.
Place asparagus into a tall pot fitted with a lid. Fill pot with water to just below the tips of the asparagus. Remove bundle, set aside. Bring water to a boil. Season well with salt and lemon juice. Using tongs, add asparagus bundle to water, tip side up. Cover and let cook for about 15-20 minutes, depending upon thickness of stalk.
When asparagus is tender, remove from pot. Lay spears in a serving dish, remove twine. Brush spears with soften butter, sprinkle with lemon herb seasoning and serve.
So, what is the difference between white and green asparagus? Is it a different variety? A close relative? Nope – asparagus is asparagus. White asparagus is covered in dirty, not allowed to reach the sunlight that turns the spears green. It takes a little more tending than the green stuff. White asparagus is grown in South America and Europe, so it’s an “import” to the US markets. Hence the hefty price tag. These sweet stalks make a brief appearance in early spring, so snatch them up when you can.