Tuesday, April 24, 2012

White asparagus

I got some asperges blanches (white asparagus) at the market on Saturday. The price isn't as low as I'd like yet, but the season is young. Still, the price wasn't has high as it was on Easter weekend.

Spears of fresh white asparagus ready to be trimmed.

For the past five years, we've been making ham and asparagus tarts during the spring season. We saw the recipe on television in 2007 and thought it looked good. And it was. I've modified it a bit to make it more economical (mainly by using regular ham in the place of raw cured ham) and a bit easier; the original recipe was for individual tartelettes and I make one large tarte.

Asparagus are typically sold in 1 kilo bundles at our market.

The thing to remember about white asparagus versus green asparagus is that the white stuff needs to be peeled. If you don't peel it, the spears will be tough like straw and nearly inedible. To me, this is counter-intuitive. I would think that the white spears, grown under the soil so they can't photosynthesize, would be more tender than the green ones that have seen the light of day. They are exactly the same plant.

The finished ham and asparagus tarte.

So always remember to peel your white asparagus with a vegetable peeler and you won't have any problems. You can see my recipe for the tarte here. Have any of you tried it?


  1. Walt, next time you and Ken go to Loches and LeClerc, visit LIDL where you will find some excellent dry-cured ham... the one we get is the Black Forest [at 1€80 for 15 thin slices], but they do Serrano and Italian ones as well.
    The Black Forest one is excellent for dishes like this. [And wrapped round the tips of bunches of green 'sparagrass before steaming... stops the tips overcooking].

  2. Went to the recipe page link and found it an easy one to follow, thanks.
    Out of the corner of my eye I saw that the weather in April 2007 was similar to today this year. Then I realized that it was today's. Plonker!

  3. I haven't made yours, but I made an Italian recipe for asparagus flan a couple of days ago. No ham, but lots of cheese (I used faisselle de chevre and parmesan). Very good, excellent for taking to lunch at a friend's.

  4. Walt, those two photos are awesome. So clear.
    Fred makes a similar dish but I'm going to show him this one and hope that he makes it for me. m.

  5. No, not quite yours, but I did make green asparagus and ham on toast with Hollandaise sauce... that was pretty scrumptious :) And super duper easy.

  6. Walt, growing up I thought I hated asparagus, because my mother boiled them until they were mush. Five years ago Paul and I were in Germany, on separate business trips and there were spargelkartes everywhere. Paul made me try them. I have been in love with asparagus and him ever since! :)

  7. I haven't been aware of this recipe before now. I definitely want to try it; maybe I will take it to the next potluck outing as Susan has suggested. Bill, I have a German doll I bought back in the late 60's from outside Heidelberg that is a girl with a spargelkarte - the other one is of a traveling clockseller (his clocks are on a plank on his back). I never saw the real thing, however.

    Mary in Oregon

  8. Walt, your recipes always looks so yummy. I'd like to see a picture of you or Ken enjoying one of your tasty creations.

  9. I love white asparagus, but it's so difficult to find here.


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