White asparagus is a delicious and tender spring vegetable that requires some special preparation before cooking. In this article, we will explore the essential steps for cooking white asparagus in oven and in pan.
1. What is Special About White Asparagus?
White asparagus is exactly the same species as green asparagus, but it is grown differently. The asparagus shoots are covered with dirt or straw as they grow so they are not exposed to sunlight. This prevents the production of chlorophyll that makes the spears green.
The lack of chlorophyll gives white asparagus a milder, more delicate flavor than green varieties. The covered growth also keeps the stalks tender. White asparagus also has a shorter season during early spring.
2. Do You Have To Peel White Asparagus Before Cooking?
Yes, you need to peel white asparagus before cooking it. The peels are too fibrous and woody to be eaten.
Start by snapping off the bottom of the asparagus spears where they naturally break. Then using a vegetable peeler or paring knife, peel the skin off the stalks starting about 2 inches below the tips. The top parts of the spears don’t need to be peeled.
Peel gently to avoid bruising the delicate stalks. The spears can be peeled ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for a couple days before cooking. Just wrap the peeled asparagus in damp paper towels and put it in a plastic bag.
3. How To Cook White Asparagus in Oven
- 1 bunch white asparagus, peeled and ends trimmed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Lemon wedges for serving
Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Toss the asparagus with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer on the baking sheet.
Roast for 15-20 minutes until fork tender. Shake the pan halfway through for even cooking. For thicker asparagus, you should roast them in 25 minutes for tender stalks
Remove from oven and squeeze fresh lemon juice over the spears. You can add grated parmesan cheese or breadcrumbs for a crunchy topping. Serve warm
4. How To Cook White Asparagus in Pan
- 1 bunch white asparagus, trimmed and peeled
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- Chicken or vegetable broth as needed
- Salt and pepper to taste
In a skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute until fragrant.
Add the asparagus in a single layer along with a splash of broth. Season with salt and pepper.
Cook for 5-7 minutes, turning occasionally, until asparagus is fork tender. Add more broth by the tablespoon if pan gets dry.
Once tender, remove from heat and transfer to a serving plate. Sprinkle with grated parmesan if desired. You can add lemon zest or red pepper flakes for extra flavor.
The delicate flavor of white asparagus shines when simply prepared. Roasting and sautéing are easy ways to cook white asparagus to bring out its best qualities. I hope that after reading this article you know how to cook white asparagus perfectly.