This week I’ve been enjoying the short white asparagus season Often referred to as "white gold", white asparagus is a prized delicacy in many parts of the world, particularly in Spain. Unlike its green counterpart, white asparagus is grown underground or under mounds of soil to prevent it from being exposed to sunlight. This lack of chlorophyll production results in its distinctive pale colour. The process of growing white asparagus is labour-intensive, which contributes to its higher cost and status as a gourmet vegetable.

In terms of taste, white asparagus is milder and more delicate than green asparagus, with a slightly nutty and earthy flavour. Its texture is tender yet firm, making it a versatile ingredient in various culinary preparations. The season for white asparagus is relatively short, typically from April to June, which further adds to its exclusivity and desirability among chefs and food enthusiasts.

Preparation of white asparagus requires some care. The stalks need to be peeled to remove the fibrous outer layer, starting just below the tip. Once peeled, white asparagus can be boiled, steamed, grilled, or roasted. A classic and popular way to serve white asparagus is with Hollandaise sauce, which complements its subtle flavour perfectly. It is also commonly served with boiled potatoes and ham or incorporated into soups, salads, and risottos.


White Asparagus with serrano ham & Hollandaise Sauce


Ingredients:                 serves 4


16 white asparagus spears

8 slices of Serrano ham


Classic Hollandaise sauce


Ingredients: serves 4


200g butter, melted

3 egg yolks

3tbsp white wine vinegar

5 black peppercorns, crushed

1 bay leaf

Juice of ½ a lemon



Pour the vinegar into a small pan with the peppercorns and bay leaf. Reduce the vinegar over a high heat until there is only 1 tbsp left. Strain the peppercorns and the bay leaf from this reduction. Allow to cool.


Whisk together the egg yolks with the white wine vinegar in a large heat-proof bowl. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (do not to let the bottom of the bowl touch the water). Whisk until lukewarm and the eggs yolk have started to thicken slightly. Remove from the heat and very slowly add the warm melted butter to the egg yolks beating continuously, making sure all the butter is well incorporated. Once the mixture has thickened, remove from the heat and season to taste with salt and pepper and a little lemon juice.


Wash the asparagus thoroughly under cold water.

Cut off about 1-2 inches from the woody ends of the asparagus stalks. Peel the stems with a potato peeler. Boil in salted water for 12-15 minutes until the spears are tender. Drain well.


Place the cooked asparagus on a serving plate. Drizzle the warm Hollandaise sauce over the asparagus and slices of serrano ham. You can also serve with boiled potatoes or crusty bread.




For grilling you need thick asparagus, not the very thin asparagus. Look at the tips to make sure the asparagus hasn't begun to flower. Peel and blanch the asparagus in boiling salted water until the stalks are crisp and just “al dente”.


Ingredients:​                 Serves 4


24        ​Blanched asparagus stalks



1​ large red pepper

450g​ olive oil

​100g​ peeled almonds

3​ garlic cloves (crushed)

1tbsp tomato puree

2tspn Paprika

1​ slice of stale bread

50ml​ brandy

30ml​ sherry vinegar



Roast the red pepper in a hot oven or place under a hot grill until the skin starts to blacken and blister. Place in a bowl and cover well with cling-film. The steam will help to remove the skin from the peppers. When cold enough to handle, cut the peppers in half lengthways and remove the seeds. Peel the skin away from the flesh and place the peeled, de-seeded pepper in a liquidiser. Place the almonds, garlic, stale bread and half the olive oil in a frying pan and toast them over a gentle heat. Add this mixture to the peppers and blend to a puree. Add the tomato puree, paprika, brandy and sherry vinegar and whisk in the remaining olive oil to emulsify and thicken the sauce. Season to taste and chill until required.

Brush the asparagus spears with olive oil and coarse salt. Grill over hot coals, turning once, just long enough to colour lightly and warm throughout, about 1 minute on each side. Serve the hot asparagus with romesco sauce and a large green salad. 


*Romesco is a sauce originating in Tarragona, Catalonia. You can substitute the almonds for hazelnuts, pine nuts or walnuts.