What’s the difference between white and green asparagus?
The main difference is in which the asparagus spears are cultivated — white asparagus is covered and deprived of sunlight, whereas green asparagus is grown uncovered, thriving from the sunlight it receives. There is also a slight noticeable difference in flavour as green asparagus tends to be slightly sweeter than the white asparagus.
Whether it’s green or white, we’re very happy to have it! Enjoy Wye Valley asparagus with roasted halibut, prawn bisque and fregola (a type of pasta from Sardinia) at Tredwells or indulge in Wellock’s white asparagus with slow-cooked pheasant’s egg, mushroom velouté and broad beans at The Gilbert Scott. If you prefer to cook this tasty treat at home, try our easy to follow recipe below.
English Asparagus with Burnt Butter Hollandaise
To prepare the juicy spears, you only need to strip the woody ends off, then cook in salted water. The burnt butter hollandaise has a wonderful nuttiness, and with the asparagus creates on of summer’s blissful combinations.
500g English asparagus, trimmed
1 small shallot, peeled and sliced
1 clove garlic, peeled and sliced
1 bay leaf
3 coriander seeds
2 white peppercorns
100ml white wine vinegar
125g unsalted butter
3 free-range egg yolks
Start by making the reduction for the sauce. Combine the shallot, garlic, bay leaf, coriander, peppercorns and vinegar in a small pan and bring to the boil. Simmer rapidly until you have reduced the mix by just over half. Strain through a fine sieve into a bowl and set the liquid aside; discard the ingredients in the sieve.
Next, prepare the burnt butter. Dice the butter into chunks and place in a saucepan over a moderate heat. When the butter begins to foam, start whisking it slowly. Cook, whisking, until it turns a deep golden colour. Remove from the heat and carefully pour into a heatproof jug. Set aside.
Put the egg yolks in a heatproof bowl, set over a pan of gently simmering water and whisk until soft and fluffy. Slowly drizzle the warm burnt butter into the yolks, whisking well. When the mix has thickened, add a little of the reduction to taste, then season. Remove the bowl of hollandaise from the pan of water, cover with clingfilm and keep warm.
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Add the asparagus and cook until just tender. Drain well, then serve with lashings of hollandaise.