As you may remember, the April 5 Star Makeover challenge was white asparagus. I was obsessed with an asparagus ice cream I saw and stubborn (I am a Taurus) to make it no matter what. Well I never found white asparagus anywhere. And I mean anywhere: grocery store, a few farmer’s markets, Asian grocery stores. Nada! Finally all I could get my hands on – only found it in one store too – was jarred white asparagus preserved in a brine.
Stubborn as I was I proceeded to desalt them as best I could. The delicate and almost mushy consistency was not helping either. I made the ice cream, took nice pictures, tasted the ice cream and chucked it in the garbage can. It was gross but I completed my challenge. I was determined to try again.
Last week my friend Stef invited me over for dinner and he said he saw white asparagus at his local grocery. My immediate response was: Did you by some? I told you if you ever saw theme BUY some! He had not being unsure if I really still meant it but now it meant I would make him detour to this grocery store. I bought 2 pounds. I was FREAKING elated.
And so I set about remaking my white asparagus ice cream the right way. If you have never worked with white asparagus before here is a very important fact you need to know: the stem must be peeled as it is fibrous. Just get a good peeler out and peel it like you would a cucumber but be delicate not to wastes the flesh. Then use as usual. I followed the recipe from the challenge with a few adaptations……
Ξ White Asparagus Ice Cream with Dark Chocolate Ξ
adapted from Jose Garces
- 1 pounds white asparagus
- Kosher salt
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 cup skim milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 100 gr of dark chocolate chunks
- Cut 2 to 3 inches from the bottom of each asparagus stalk (the hard part). Fill a large bowl with ice water. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the asparagus and cook until tender. Drain and plunge into the ice water, then drain well and transfer to a blender; set aside.
- 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. Make the asparagus custard in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Add the dark chocolate after 10 minutes.
What a success! What a difference. Now this is a truly unusual and so delicious ice cream. You can totally taste the delicate white asparagus but it is sweet ans creamy from the rich custard based ice cream. The dark chocolate chunks are a perfect match too.
I strongly encourage you to give this ice cream flavor a try. It will not be to everyone but with an open mind and a foodie cap on you should fall in love with the flavor.
On a separate note I just wanted to thank again the NDG Food Depot and Azar (5899 Sherbrook St. West) for a lovely night out. Azar is a Lebanese restaurant that took part in the Dine for the Depot fundraiser, a week where several restaurants in my neighborhood donated 10% of their sales of a specific night to the NDG Food Depot. This is the non profit organization I will be working with as well for my 1st annual Cheap Ethnic Eatz food film marathon and pot luck.
The menu was fixed: we enjoyed a delicious fattoush salad and oh so amazing grilled meats and chicken with large dollops of hummus and baba ganoush. Sorry cell phone did not take the best pics that night.
And if it is not too late and you want to get your sweet tooth all excited go a few doors down to Briimstone and Grumblenott at 5879 Sherbrooke St.West, a truly magical candy store. Patricia is the owner and she makes a lot of the products herself. Her store has an old school homelike feel to it with actual dishes filled with candies everywhere, and I mean everywhere. It is jam packed with goodies. Behind the glass counter is a great selection of sophisticated handmade chocolates. I particularly loved this sign behind the counter.