Freshly steamed violet asparagus. Steaming turns much of the violet part green, but the rest stays white.
White asparagus is the same plant as green asparagus. The difference is that the spears are continuously covered in dirt as they grow so that they don't get any sunlight. That keeps them from turning green. And white spears need to be peeled before cooking. Often, the spears' tips are allowed a little light to turn them slightly purple, resulting in what's called les violettes, or "violet" asparagus.
I bought a kilo of violet spears on Saturday and steamed them. We ate half of them with some smoked trout and a lemon-caper dressing on Wednesday. Today, I'm going to try something new: I'll wrap a few pre-cooked spears in a slice of ham, then wrap that bundle into puff pastry and bake it. I'll let you know how it turns out.