White Asparagus With Paprika Hollandaise
If you are a fan of regular green asparagus then you will definitely be a fan of these beautiful white asparagus. While far less popular than its green counterpart it is, in my opinion, much more delicious. It probably boils down to the fact that it is extremely seasonal and fresh white asparagus is only available for a couple months of the year, but I find the flavor to be much more balanced and delicate.
What Is The Difference Between White Asparagus And Green Asparagus?
White Asparagus and green asparagus are both the same plant. To make white asparagus the farmer will cover the growing shoots with soil to prevent photosynthesis, thus preventing the green color. The end result is a less bitter and more tender vegetable, which consumers pay highly for compared to the standard green asparagus.
Do You Have To Peel White Asparagus?
Yes. As the asparagus grows it develops a thick exterior which is extremely fibrous. However it is easily peeled off with a standard kitchen vegetable peeler in no time at all. Also make sure to cut off about 1-2 cm of the bottom as it is quite woody.
My favorite way of cooking white asparagus is also the simplest! Now, I absolutely despise boiled green asparagus, always opting for sauteed or roasted. However white asparagus are so tender the traditional method works perfectly.
Properly Boiling The White Asparagus
Now this isn’t just boiling in a pot of regular water, oh no. This is boiling in a shallow pan of water mixed with salt and butter. Now I know some people recommend a full butter poach, but I didn’t have that much butter since I needed a lot for the paprika hollandaise so I used water, a stick of butter (about 100 grams), two tsp of salt, then enough water to bring the liquid about two centimeters off the bottom. Then I whisked everything together.
When the pan is boiling, reduce to a simmer and add the asparagus spears. Boil for around 25 minutes or until fork tender. While you are cooking the asparagus you can start on the paprika hollandaise at around the 20 minute mark. I use my standard Hollandaise Sauce recipe, with a tsp of sweet smoked paprika whisked in at the end instead of sprinkled on top like my EGGS BENEDICT WITH SMOKED SALMON or RIBS EGGS BENEDICT.
Paprika Hollandaise Sauce Ingredients
2 Egg Yolks; from large eggs. When splitting the yolk and the white I find it easiest to either coddle the egg in between the two halves of the broken egg shell, or just dump the contents into my hand and let the white run through my fingers.
70 grams Butter. I used unsalted so I can taste for salt at the end.
2 tsp Lemon Juice, freshly squeezed.
1 tsp Sweet Smoked Paprika
1/2 tsp Black Pepper; freshly cracked.
Salt; to taste
White Asparagus With Paprika Hollandaise
- Vegetable Peeler (optional)
- 250 grams White Asparagus
- 2 large Egg Yolks When splitting the yolk and the white I find it easiest to either transfer the egg in between the two halves of the broken egg shell or just dump the contents into my hand and let the white run through my fingers.
- 170 grams Butter. melted. I used unsalted so I can taste for salt at the end.
- 2 tsp Lemon Juice freshly squeezed.
- 1 tsp Paprika Sweet Smoked
- 1/2 tsp Black Pepper freshly cracked
- 2 tsp Salt plus more to taste
- Begin by peeling your white asparagus and cutting off the bottom 1-2 cm as this is the woody part.
- In a shallow pan add 100 grams of the butter on low heat and let melt. Pour in water so the bottom of the pan about 1-2 cm high, add in 2 tsp of salt. Whisk everything so it is emulsified and turn the heat up to max to bring to a boil.
- When the water is boiling add in the asparagus spears and reduce the heat to a simmer. Let sit in the simmering water for 25 minutes or until fork tender.
- At the 20 minute mark begin on the hollandaise. In a bowl (I used glass but you can use metal. Avoid plastic) add the egg yolks and lemon juice and whisk rapidly. You want the lemon juice to fully incorporate and the mixture to be smooth.
- Place a pot of water on the stove and turn up the heat to medium high. We want the water simmering, but do not want a rolling boil.
- Place the bowl on top of the pot taking note not to let the bottom of the bowl touch the water. If there is too much water just remove some. Once you put the bowl on the pot whisk rapidly so the eggs do not cook. We just want them to get warm.
- Slowly, very slowly, trickle in the butter to the egg yolk mixture constantly whisking. Do not stop whisking. By the time all of the butter is incorporated, the mixture volume should be at least doubled in size. Take the bowl off the pot and set aside. Add the paprika, pepper, and taste for salt.
- Plate the white asparagus. You can add the sauce first beneath the spears like I did in my pictures, or lay down the spears and then drizzle the sauce over. Either way works just fine.