White asparagus is essentially the same plant as the green variety, although it is kept covered with soil during the growing process so that it does not have exposure to sunlight, which is what causes the chlorophyll production and hence the green color. Flavor-wise, it is slightly sweeter and nuttier than green asparagus, and for this reason, our chef Alessandro likes to pair it with serrano ham. Pangritata, fried breadcrumbs, add an interesting texture to this simple, delicious salad.
WHITE ASPARAGUS, SERRANO HAM, PANGRITATA
- 12 spears white asparagus
- 4 slices of Serrano ham
- 4 tablespoons breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon chopped parsley
- 2 teaspoons chopped chive
- 1 teaspoon chopped chervil
- 1 clove of garlic
- 160 ml extra virgin olive oil
- 30 ml sherry vinegar
- 1 knob of butter
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- Field green salad
- Salt & pepper to taste
Make a dressing with 120 ml of olive oil and 30 ml sherry vinegar – season with salt and pepper.
Peel each spear of white asparagus from just under the tip down on all around. And ensure you cut off the woody filament at the bottom.
Bring to the boil a large pot of water, add the sugar, one tablespoon of salt and the knob of butter. Carefully place the asparagus in the water and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the size of the asparagus. Once a fork can easily piece the asparagus, it is cooked. Drain the asparagus and place in a container filled with ice water to quickly stop the cooking process. When the spears are cold, drain them well and leave to dry on a clean cloth.
Next, make the pangritata: pour the oil in a pan with a clove of garlic. When the oil is warm, add the breadcrumbs and toast well until crispy. Remove from the heat and add the fresh herbs, pinch of salt and black pepper and set aside.
To plate, place the asparagus on the plate and dress with the sherry dressing. Top with the Serrano ham and few leaves of salad and sprinkle with the pangritata.
Wine Pairing: Vega de La Reina
Salamanca-Ledesma, D.O. Rueda
Grapes: 100% Verdejo
Harvest takes place at night in order to avoid high temperatures, which minimises oxidation and the loss of aromatics. Fermentation takes place in stainless steel vats over a period of 15 to 20 days. After 2 to 3 months, the wine is stabilised, filtered and bottled. The result is a pale straw-coloured wine with aromas suggesting mature fruit with a delicate balsamic depth. A fruity, balanced flavour that is pleasantly persistent. Pair with the recipe above, or with seafood and lighter goat cheeses, both fresh and semi-hard.