I learned this unique method of preparing white asparagus from Ken Frank while coking at his restaurant, La Toque. Using a peeler to make long white asparagus ribbons makes it look like fettucini and creates a very elegant and surprising dish.
I have added morels, prosciutto, and Parmesan for richness; it is lovely as a stand-alone entrée. I can’t imagine this mound of heaven-on-a-plate having to compete with other fare. It is melt in your mouth decadent and springly delightful!
NOTE: Buy the thickest white asparagus you can find. They will yield a wider ribbon, and a more striking presentation.
1 1/4 pounds
green asparagus, cut paper thin on the bias, reserve tips
fresh morels (or ¾ ounce dried), cleaned, left whole or cut in half if very large
unsalted butter (I like the brand Plugra for this dish)
prosciutto, thinly sliced, then cut into strips about ½ inch by 1 inch
green onions, use only the green part, slice thinly, on the bias
½ lemon, juiced
Parmesan reggiano, with a peeler, shave 6 slices for garnish
Use a carrot peeler to make the asparagus ribbons. First peel off the outer layer of the white asparagus and throw it away. Make sure you remove all of it as it is bitter and fibrous. It has a woody texture and is not the same pure white color as the usable part of the vegetable. Next, lay the stalk on a cutting board and slowly guide the peeler from the tip to the bottom of the stalk, making long, wide ribbons.
Cut the tips in half lengthwise and blanch in a pot of boiling salted water. Blanch the green asparagus tips as well. About 2 minutes.
In a sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Add the morels and cook, stirring occasionally. Continue to cook until the moisture has almost completely evaporated, then season with salt. Taste for doneness: they should be tender, not rubbery. Remove from pan and set aside.
In a stainless steel sauté pan, melt the remaining butter over medium heat. Swirl the pan continuously. When the butter is a brown color and starts to give off a nutty aroma, about 4 minutes, add the white asparagus ribbons, the green asparagus and all of the tips. Season with salt.
Turn the heat to high. Using tongs, gently stir the ribbons, cooking them and coating them with the brown butter. About 2 minutes.
Add the morels, prosciutto and green onion; stir to warm all of the ingredients. The asparagus ribbons should have a bite to them. Taste and season with salt, as needed.
Finish with a generous squeeze of lemon, and quickly pile it onto shallow pasta bowls in tall glorious mounds! Drizzle the remaining brown butter around the plate and top with Parmesan peels.
My love for all things delicious lead me to the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco and three years of working in restaurants and wineries in Napa Valley. My love of travel has propelled me all over the world. After living in Honduras and Mexico for the past 5 yrs., my two children, super-hero husband, and I have just moved to the Midwest....... A new chapter is unfolding....