5 Star Makeover White Asparagus

I cannot tell you how excited and honored I am to present you with my first ever contribution to the monthly 5 Star Makeover. This relatively new cooking club is run by Natasha at Five Star Foodie and Lazaro of Lazaro Cooks. I was really attracted to their club because you get a theme or ingredient and then you let your imagination run wild. It feeds my need for creativity.

But I almost had a heart attack when I saw the ingredient for this month: White Asparagus. Am I going to find some? I know I have seen some in the past but the season is very short. That is the season in the US which is usually the last 2 weeks of April. In Canada specific food in season are usually behind on the agricultural schedule. And my fears were confirmed. I never found fresh white asparagus. I did grocery stores, ethnic stores, fruits and veggie stores, farmer’s markets. Zilch, nada, zero. I had my recipe all planned out after some online research and food pairing suggestions, I just needed my star ingredient! The recipe: White Asparagus Ice Cream with Dark Chocolate and Rooibos Tea

I fortunately found in one Asian grocery store jarred white asparagus, unfortunately. At least there was no vinegar in there…just salt. I bathed the wimpy limp stalks and drained several times to remove as much salt as possible. Not finding fresh ones sucks but at least I got to participate with my find.

The white asparagus is nicknamed white gold in northern Europe. They are cultivated by denying the plants light while they are being grown. Soil is continuously ‘hilled” to deny any contact with the sun. The result in taste is a little sweeter and much more tender, but it must be peeled before consumption. Germany is known for week long festivals dedicated to this vegetable called Spargel, they crown a Spargel Queen and there is even Spargel etiquette rules. I am sure deciding to make a dessert out of my challenge breaks those rules, oh well!

White Asparagus Ice Cream with Dark Chocolate and Rooibos Tea

adapted from Jose Garces

Ingredients

 

  • 2 pounds asparagus (or 1 pound jarred)
  • Kosher salt
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 200 gr of dark chocolate chunks
  • 1 pouch of Roobios tea

Directions

Fresh: Cut the top 2 to 3 inches from each asparagus stalk; reserve the bottoms for another use. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the asparagus tops and cook until bright green, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain and plunge into the ice water, then drain well and transfer to a blender; set aside.

Jarred: Gently place in a shallow dish and bathe several times, draining, in water. Cut in sections 2 to 3 inches long using the whole length.

Whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a medium bowl. Heat the milk and cream in a saucepan over medium heat until it just boils. Remove from the heat and gradually add the yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Return the pan to the heat and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the custard is thick enough to coat the spoon and a thermometer registers 170 degrees F, about 10 minutes (do not let the custard boil).

Transfer the custard to the blender with the asparagus and puree until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Cool completely in the refrigerator. Add the dark chocolate and Rooibos Tea. Freeze the asparagus custard in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

The result, visually, was stunning. taste wise I am afraid to say it was not such a success. I believe that was do to the jarred asparagus. I think fresh ones would have made a huge difference. The pairing with dark chocolate and Rooibos tea (a red tea from Africa, was a lovely choice. I’ll try it again perhaps with fresh ones and bit more sugar (which I have already adjusted above, originally it was 1/4 to 1/2 cup.)

23 comments to 5 Star Makeover White Asparagus

  • 5 Star Makeover White Asparagus? Cheap Ethnic Eatz | Asparagus Reviews
    [...] original article: 5 Star Makeover White Asparagus ? Cheap Ethnic Eatz. [...]
  • Bren
    ice cream!?!? I love it how fantastic, especially with the tea infusion. And, welcome to the group! :)
  • Good job on your first five star adventure.
  • Debi(Table Talk)
    I bet it was extremely frustrating when you couldn't find fresh white asparagus. Hats off for sticking with it, and submitting an inventive recipe. Welcome to our group :)
  • Evelyne - you are a fearless cook! Kudos to you for attempting such a wild recipe. Love how you push the envelope. With your attitude I'm sure your next attempt will be a success. LL
  • Such a creative and delicious use of the ingredient...Nice!
  • Maya@Foodiva's Kitchen
    I used to eat a lot of spargel while living in Germany years ago, but in all my life, I would never have thought to make ice cream with them! What a brilliant spark of creativity, pairing asparagus with rooibos tea (which I love) and chocolate chunks. I think you should try again with fresh white asparagus when you find them, and see if it makes this dish taste any different.
  • I'm glad you at least found white asparagus! I didn't know about its rarity and felt lucky that I decided to buy when I saw it at a grocery store. This sounds really good! I would never have thought about making ice cream from asparagus!!
  • I was not surprised to read your conclusive results. I've had a try at those very specific jarred asparagus and was truly not impressed. What I am impressed about is how you once more broke through the creative barrier...great use of the sweeter white asparagus Evelyne ;o) Flavourful wishes, Claudia
  • You are a brave woman to work with the jarred stuff... it just can't be as good... I bet with fresh your dish would have been fabulous... really imaginative. The original ice creams were called frozen cheese and they were made with things like parmesan cheese, artichokes and asparagus! One of the most popular ice cream molds in the 19th century was in an asparagus shape!! You see, you are rediscovering a classic! I have never tried this ROoibus tea... looks interesting. GOod to meet you and look forward to visiting!
  • Really nice job! This month was hard- even with fresh asparagus available. I really like your flavor combination. I really enjoy rooibus and will have to make some ice cream with it someday. I would absolutely try this!
  • Yay, welcome to the group!! Sorry you couldn't find fresh - I am positive that your ice cream would have been a total succes if you had. But for your perseverance, I crown you ... the Spargel Queen!
  • such interesting ingredients! Fantastic job
  • Super Eve. What creative fun. Never would have thought of it!
  • How creative! Ice cream with asparagus!
  • Kate@Diethood
    That ice cream sounds really gooooood! I have yet to try white asparagus... I always kinda overlooked it. Probably because I didn't know what to do with it. :)
  • Lazaro
    Welcome to our cooking group. Glad you were able to execute your vision. Love the idea of making an ice cream. Creative way to make this months ingredient shine. Well done
  • Evelyne! Glad you were able to find the white asparagus to make the ice cream! It looks really good. Very creative as usual.
  • You are so creative! I honestly would never have thought ice cream when it came to asparagus of any color. I'm glad you found some, even if it was jarred.
  • 5 Star Foodie
    I'm glad you were able to find a jarred white asparagus to make this. The ice cream sounds just delightful, I really like the Roobios tea element here. Welcome to the group!
  • I also had a very hard time finding the white asparagus but I'm glad that you were able to atleast get the jarred kind to execute your great idea. White asparagus ice cream sounds so cool. It's like watching Iron Chef! I like the addition of the tea. Nice job!
  • So nice to meet you through our first Five Star Challenge. And, don't be discouraged - you were definitely thinking outside the box with your ice cream, I'm sure making it from fresh will make a huge difference in the flavor. I had a most difficult time finding fresh white asparagus in Southern California!

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