Roasted White Asparagus
The 2018 white asparagus season is late this year, but it has been well worth the wait! Cooler temperatures and rain in our area have certainly delayed the harvest of this traditional German vegetable. Our grower, located just outside of Belleville, Illinois, had already harvested his field three times by this time last year.
My German grandmother loved white asparagus, and she taught me to prepare it simply by oven-roasting and lightly salting. White asparagus has a unique flavor so you won’t want to disguise it with sauces or toppings.
I love to roast the tips because they are the most tender. When using the whole stalks, you will need to peel the ends of the stalks because they can be tough.
A little info for horticulture nerds like me: in order to produce white asparagus, regular asparagus plants are buried in mulch and soil to starve the shoots from sunlight. This growing technique prevents the plant from photosynthesizing. The result is a milder flavored version of the familiar green asparagus.
I hope you will give this very special vegetable crop a try this spring. Local chefs are digging it so why not taste for yourself?
1 lb. white asparagus spears, ends trimmed and peeled
2 Tbs. butter
Salt & Pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Wash asparagus and place spears on a large sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil; dot with butter. Bring edges of foil together to form a pouch, seal tightly and place on a cookie sheet. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until asparagus is “crisp-tender.” Carefully open foil to allow steam to escape. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Makes 4 servings.