Summer white asparagus salad

May 31, 2015

 

It's been a while since I have posted anything... and there will be more posts about my journey from the last few months. But for now, let's get right back to it! 

It's the season of white asparagus, which for a German is probably the most culinary season all year. You are only able to get white asparagus for about 2 months from late April to June 24th. The stalks need to be extremely fresh otherwise they turn woody quickly, which makes for a very unpleasant texture in the mouth. Unlike green asparagus, white asparagus grows underground. Because it doesn't get any sunlight, it stays pale and white. You need to peel the rough skin, then you can cook it or eat it raw. White asparagus tastes much less bitter than its green sibling. 

When most people think of asparagus, they think of the unpleasant smell on their next trip to the bathroom. This is nothing unusual and not to worry! Asparagus contains asparagusic acid which breaks down into sulfur- containing compounds in the body. These then get eliminated through the urine and evaporate, making them easily detectable through smell. This will last anywhere from 15 minutes to 6 hours after eating asparagus and is nothing to be concerned about. 

Traditionally in Germany we serve asparagus with potatoes and hollandaise sauce or just melted butter. While asparagus is a super lean vegetable with 93% water and a great source for fiber, Vitamin C and B6, calcium, zinc and magnesium, traditional dishes really take away all the health benefits. Instead of falling into a food coma every time I eat white asparagus, I love making this fruity asparagus salad. White asparagus pairs beautifully with berries and fresh herbs. You can usually find white asparagus in special delicatessen stores or if you live in Shanghai, plan a visit to the Avocado Lady soon. Enjoy! 

 

 

Preparation time: 30

Cooking time: 20-30 minutes

Marinating time: 30 minutes

For 1 serving:

 

- 10 stalks white asparagus 

- juice of ½ lemon 

- ½ cup raspberries (or strawberries)

- 10 basil leaves

 

For the dressing: 

- zest of ½ lemon 

- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil 

- 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

- 1 Tbsp raw honey

- freshly ground black pepper and sea salt to taste 

 

  1. Bring a pot of water to boil. In the meantime, wash the asparagus well, peel it, and cut into bite sized pieces. See bonus tip below! Once the water is boiling, add the lemon juice and asparagus and cook for about 20 - 30 minutes until tender and soft. 

  2. In the meantime, whisk all the ingredients for the dressing and place in a bowl. 

  3. Wash your berries, drain them, and add to the dressing. 

  4. Once the asparagus is done, drain well and let excess water drip away. Add to the dressing while still warm and stir. Place in the fridge and let it marinate for 30 minutes or longer. 

  5. Finally, slice the basil into very fine strips and add to the salad when it is ready to serve. 

 

 

Bonus tip: Usually white asparagus will be quite sandy. Place it in a sink filled with water for 5 minutes and see most of the sand sink to the bottom. Once you have peeled the asparagus, cut about ¼ of the end of the stalk away. The area where you cut through the stalk should look fresh, watery, and crisp, otherwise cut more away. If you leave a woody part, it will be extremely unpleasant later when you eat the salad. 

 

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