White Asparagus grow underground covered with sheets without ever seeing the light of the sun, that’s why they are white.
They have a slightly bitter taste, longer and more fibrous compared to their more common green brothers althought they cook in the same way too. The thicker spears take a little longer to soften, however they are perfect combined in risottos or as velvety soups or even simply baked then served as side-dish as well as a simple and light second dish ‘secondo piatto’, paired with meat and even fish like salmon. And they are perfect even raw added in a salad.
In Italy, White Asparagus is typical from the regions of the North East, particularly in Veneto region.
Serves 2, Preparation time 20 mins, Cooking time 25 mins
- White Asparagus, 500g – about a bunch medium-thick
- Breadcrumbs, 1 tablespoon
- Grated Parmigiano or Pecorino cheese. 3 tablespoons
- Unsalted butter, 30 g
- Evoo – Extra Virgin Olive Oil, a tablespoon
- Fresh thyme, 2 sprigs
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- Grated lemon zest, half
How to clean white asparagus
White asparagus must be cleaned from the base. First of all you have to cut at least 4 centimeters of stem, the part that is harder and more woody. Then, after soaking them in cold water, you have to peel them with a potato peeler so as to remove even the bitter part and keep only the tastiest part.
In general, asparagus should not be overcooked or they will be soft once bitten, while they should maintain a little crunchiness.
Boil in salted water for about 12-15 mins until the spears are tender. Drain well.
In a bowl, add a handful of breadcrumbs with plenty of grated Parmigiano or Pecorino cheese, ground black pepper, a pinch of salt, grated lemon rind, a few chopped thyme leaves and mix.
Melt 20 g of butter. Set aside a piece.
Preheat the oven to 220/230 C. Brush a non-stick ovenproof dish with melted butter and a drizzle of Evoo.
Place asparagus in the ovenproof dish, spread the cheese mixture over asparagus, add a few flakes of butter and thyme leaves.
Bake in the oven until the surface is crispy and golden brown, about 15/20 minutes.