This is my last post with a Swedish theme, I promise. But as I go back to catching up on Atlanta restaurant news and stuffing my face, I keep thinking about the great (m0stly German) white asparagus that is currently in season in Northern Europe.
We ate it steamed, pickled, blended into soup, every way we could.
White and green asparagus are the same species. The only difference is that the white undergoes etiolation — i.e., it is grown in the absence of light. Traditionally, this is done by mounding dirt around the spears. It makes me think of the chive patch that had wintered over in my garden and came back, white as snow, under a pile of pine straw.
The white asparagus in Europe doesn’t have the buttery flavor of green asparagus, but it is juicy, snappy and crisp, and it has a mild flavor that I could imagine associating intimately with early spring in my mind if only I knew it better.
Alas, the few times I’ve purchased white asparagus here I find that it is bitter and unpleasant. What gives? Why don’t we Americans cotton to this great vegetable?