It is almost spring time and I am very excited to be serving fresh white asparagus from Holland again. Fresh cut white asparagus is a very sustainable product and a European favorite, it is only available from mid March until the beginning of June and many european restaurants typically present an entire menu with white asparagus featured in every dish during that time of the year. There is even an annual festival to honor the asparagus lily. The real secret to growing white asparagus is covering the stalks with sandy dirt as they grow a certain height. The lack of exposure to sunlight robs their chance of turning grassy green. White asparagus needs to be peeled very meticulously since the skin is very tough, it also needs to be cooked longer than traditional green asparagus and costs 4 to 5 times more.
I know that in my homeland of Germany “Spargel” is most often served as the center piece of the meal. Each guest has 5-8 spears of asparagus on the plate and then chooses from at least two sauces (melted butter and Hollandaise), cooked or dried ham slices, and boiled new potatoes. At the restaurant, I serve the white asparagus as a light appetizer in a orange blossom honey vinaigrette, with thin sliced prosciutto and a soft boiled quail egg. I also prepare a vegetarian white asparagus soup that is served with cinnamon croutons and garnished with spring flower petals which is very popular as a starter.
I will be happy to talk more about white asparagus with you at your visit to the restaurant anytime soon. But remember to request the delicacy when you make your reservation, since it sells out very fast every day as the season goes on.