Recipe // WHITE ASPARAGUS WITH HAZELNUTS & MANCHEGO
WHITE ASPARAGUS WITH HAZELNUTS & MANCHEGO
Asparagus is in season right now and if you go on a bit of a veggie hunt, you’ll find white asparagus locally. If green asparagus is a little too earthy for your tastebuds, the milder, sweet flavour of white asparagus is a great alternative.
So what makes white asparagus white?
While green asparagus loves hanging outside with all its other chlorophyll forming mates in the vegetable patch, white asparagus is more like the teenager of the veggie family. It likes to stay indoors, preferably covered at all times, and gets a little bitter and changes colour when exposed to sunlight.
If not covered in the field, asparagus spears turn pink and then later, green as they emerge from the soil and are exposed to sunlight. To keep the asparagus tips white, producers erect igloos or black poly houses over these heliophobe veggies.
Because it’s quite labour intensive and costly to produce white asparagus, farmers tend to focus on the sun-worshipping green version. That’s why white asparagus has become somewhat of a delicacy in Europe and now here in Australia.
If you fancy taste testing the vampires of the veggie world, Harris Farm Markets in Bowral will be stocking white asparagus in November. Highlands Fresh in Mittagong can also order some in for you, fresh from the markets on a Monday, Wednesday or Friday.
Or for those with green thumbs among us, add them to your own veggie patch. Many local gardeners build their own mini igloos to pop over the asparagus and grow this gourmet delight at home.
Once you’ve got some white asparagus in your hot little hand, recreate this delicious recipe Anna Phillips from Cafe Annesley has shared with us. Perfect for a side dish at a meal with friends, or if you’re just after a hit of antioxidants, woof that plate of white asparagus down yourself!
Recipe – Gourmet Pilgrim Spain
2 bunches white asparagus
35g roasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
1½ tablespoons cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
80g Manchego cheese, finely grated
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
Freshly cracked black pepper
If necessary, lightly peel each asparagus stalk with a vegetable peeler to remove any slightly fibrous flesh. Wash and drain.
Steam the asparagus for about 8 -10 minutes or until tender (depends on thickness). Drain.
Place asparagus onto a serving plate or dish and top with hazelnuts then drizzle with oil. Lastly sprinkle asparagus with cheese and parsley and season with salt and pepper and serve.
Note – after roasting hazelnuts place into a clean tea towel and rub together to remove the outer skin
Tip: Steamed asparagus is also delicious served with Allioli. When white asparagus is not in season use green.
This recipe is from the Gourmet Pilgrim Spain cookbook, published by Gourmet Pilgrim Pty Ltd