I’ve read an article on the Huffington Post titled “Everything you Need To Know About White Asparagus”. Now, the article wasn’t so thorough as it promised, but I liked the definition of this lovely spring ingredient as the “vampire of the vegetable world”. Not only it highlights its mysterious nature, but also its rarity.
As you may know, white asparagus are not white just because. They become white after a forced procedure where they are grown underground. The absence of sunlight prevents the formation of chlorophyll and ta-daa! No green color on them. But there’s more. I’m not a scientist, so I can’t explain how it happens, but they also become more tender and sweeter than normal asparagus.
Plus, they are SO fancy! White asparagus are certainly among the fanciest ingredients you can possibly eat during springtime. I’ve found an even fancier way to cook them. There’s a soup (dah..), but there’s also Prosciutto crudo di Parma (look here for another way to serve it) and sweet scallops. In a word, a real orgasmic food experience.
I’ve tried the combination white asparagus-prosciutto crudo in Berlin, three years ago. At the beginning of Spring, farmers markets proliferate with these delicacies. In the baskets, white asparagus are close to ready-made hollandaise sauce and already cut and packed prosciutto.
Apart from the dubious quality of the last two ingredients, the idea is very nice! Boiled asparagus served with high quality prosciutto and homemade hollandaise sauce is a fantastic recipe! So, try it too.
Now, here’s my soup. Very simple, very fancy, friends will love you AND this dish. Maybe, not in this order.
White Asparagus Soup with Scallops and Prosciutto Crudo di Parma (4 servings)
1 big bunch of white asparagus
2 spring onions
2 big potatoes
1/2 lt. of vegetable broth
150 gr. Prosciutto crudo di Parma
extra virgin olive oil
LET’S DO IT!
Bring the broth to a boil. In the meantime, thinly cut the spring onions and the potatoes. Begin to cook them in a large casserole with 2 tbs of extra virgin olive oil. While they cook, cut the white asparagus into small pieces, then add them to the other vegetables and stir.
Add some salt and pepper, and let the vegetables cook for 5 minutes. Then, add the broth and turn the stove down to a minimum. Let it cook for about 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are very tender. Add salt if necessary, then blend the vegetables to obtain a creamy soup.
In a small pan, roast the prosciutto slices on both sides – they should become very crispy. Put the slices on a kitchen towel, then roast the scallops in the same pan. They will roast in the grease left by the prosciutto (yum!). Cook the scallops for 3 minutes on each side, until they’re nicely browned.
Time to serve! Pour the soup in small bowls, then add two or three slices of prosciutto, one scallop for each bowl and some black pepper on top. Lovely!