Upon just returning from the south of France, signs of Spring were everywhere. Red poppies were scattered in the fields, tulips and daffodils were soaking up the light rain and large, bright strawberries were at every markets and store. But, the other sign of Spring that caught my eye at every outside market was the prolific amounts of white asparagus. Table after table was heaped with large mounds of these white, shinny, fat root vegetable! Such an uncommon sight to me. You see, where I live white asparagus are not well known. The green asparagus is the most common asparagus and also signify the arrival of Spring in Connecticut.
You may wonder why is the asparagus white and not green? The answer is simple. White asparagus are grown completely under the soil or covered with plastic so the spears are never exposed to sunlight. Photosynthesis is prevented keeps the vegetable milky white. The result is a sweet, delicate tasting vegetable. Certainly, worth the cost if you can find them.
White and green asparagus are prepared much the same way but the white variety requires a bit more prep work. Make sure you remove the fibrous outside of the vegetable by peeling the bottom two-thirds of the spear and cook completely all the way through. I find that simple preparation is always the best way to prepare this vegetable.
Roasted White Asparagus with Herbs de Provence
1 bunch of white asparagus
2 tablespoons olive oil
11/2 teaspoon Herbs de Provence (purchased at special stores)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
Grated Parmesan cheese
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. After trimming off the bottom two-thirds of each asparagus, lay the spears on a cutting board and peel off the outer layer.
3. Lay spears on prepared pan and brush generously with olive oil.
4. Roast in the preheated oven until lightly browned, about 20 minutes.
5. Once soft to the touch, remove from the oven and sprinkle with salt, pepper and a good dusting of grated Parmesan cheese.
6. Serve at once.