This mild-flavored dish plays with colors — white asparagus, purple potatoes. OK, maybe for some of you white asparagus isn’t such an oddity, but around here it is. In fact, it’s just beginning to make its presence felt in the market, as I described in a newspaper article.
I purchased a bunch at the Tel Aviv port farmer’s market. The people at the asparagus stand convinced me to get a bunch that contained fewer, thicker stalks, instead of the bundles of more attractive slender stalks I was admiring. That was a good thing: White asparagus is more fibrous than its green sibling, so it needs to be peeled.
While you usually cook it before eating, this asparagus was sweet and tender enough that it could be eaten raw. I decided to blanch some anyway, although for much less time than the usual 10 minutes or so.
The season for white asparagus is nearly over, so seize the opportunity now.
For two servings:
300 grams white asparagus
40 grams fennel root
20 grams grated emmenthal cheese
200 grams purple vitelotte potatoes
olive oil for frying
salt to taste
Peel the asparagus, remove a centimeter or two from the hard bases, and then diagonally slice the rest into short segments.
Prepare a pot of boiling water, and blanch the stems for a few minutes (leave the tips on the side, and put them in only after the first minute or two). Remove when just soft — it took my asparagus about 3 minutes.
Meanwhile, dice the potatoes into small cubes, heat some olive oil in a pan, and let them fry on a low flame until just soft. They should become crunchy in the process.
Toss the potatoes with the blanched asparagus, slivers of fennel root and cheese shavings. Add salt to taste.