I'm a little late into white asparagus season in posting this recipe. However, I recently saw a few bunches around in the markets. You can easily substitute green asparagus in this dish.
The orange chervil sauce is worth making by itself. Use fresh chervil if you can. Leave out the speck or thick cut bacon for a vegetarian version.
Each year, when Germany has white asparagus fever, watch out. As soon as the "white gold" is harvested, Germans are in their kitchens creating new and traditional white asparagus recipes. The German cooking magazines are filled with eye-catching dishes to make with weiss spargeln.
I saw a version of this recipe in one of the magazines and was looking forward to reinventing it.
Unlike the green variety, white asparagus must be peeled before cooking. In this recipe, the asparagus is boiled. Then, a luscious, creamy, orange, white wine sauce spiked with chervil is poured over the cooked asparagus. I added speck or thick cut bacon pieces as well. Leave these out for a lighter, vegetarian version.
White Asparagus with Speck in Orange Chervil Cream Sauce
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
- 2 lbs white asparagus
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon white granulated sugar
- 1 orange (preferably organic)
- 1/2 cup speck or thick cut bacon cut into small cubes
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 shallots
- 1 tablespoon orange marmalade
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chervil, plus more for garnish
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Bring a pot of water to a boil, add the salt and the sugar.
- While the water is boiling, peel the white asparagus and cut off the woody bottom ends.
- Place the peeled asparagus in the boiling water and cook for 20 minutes.
- Drain the asparagus, reserving 1/2 cup of the asparagus water.
- Place the cooked asparagus on a warm plate, cover with aluminum foil and stow in a warm place. Set aside.
- Wash the orange and pat dry.
- If you like, for garnish, peel some thin strips of the orange and set them aside. Zest the orange. Cut the orange in half and juice both halves.
- Peel the shallots and cut into small pieces.
- Place a layer of paper towels next to the stove.
- In medium sized skillet heat the thick cut bacon pieces and cook until crispy.
- Transfer the speck or bacon pieces from the pan to the prepared layer of paper towels and blot off the excess grease. Set aside.
- Add the tablespoon of unsalted butter to the pan. when the butter has melted, add the shallots and cook until the shallots are caramelized.
- Add the orange zest to the pan and stir to combine.
- Add the 1/2 cup of the reserved asparagus water to the pan. Add the orange juice to the pan and stir to combine.
- Stir in the tablespoon of orange marmalade. Simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add the white wine and deglaze the pan.
- Add the heavy cream to the pan and stir everything together.
- Add the chervil to the sauce and mix it in thoroughly. Mix in the pre-cooked thick cut bacon.
- Season the sauce with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
- Cook a few more minutes, stirring constantly until the sauce has thickened or it coats the back of a wooden spoon.
- Retrieve the cooked white asparagus from its warm place. Arrange on a serving plate and pour the hot orange chervil cream sauce over the top, garnish with orange peels and chopped fresh chervil and serve.