Sat, Jun 09, 2018 - Page 13 News List

Ian’s Table:Creature of the dark

White asparagus is much prized in Europe and is now available from local farms in Taiwan and deserves to be celebrated for its great quality and flavor

By Ian Bartholomew  /  Contributing Reporter

The flavor of white asparagus is very subtle and it is most often served with a mild rich sauce, most notably Hollandaise, but the demand for variety has also brought forth recipes using all variety of cheese sauces, making for a much richer dish. Serving with Parma ham or similar charcuterie is also very popular, and it mixes up very well with seafood.

The health benefits and issues related to white asparagus are largely similar to that of green, though some studies suggest that the white variety is not as powerful in antioxidants as green. This does not deter fanciers of white asparagus, for whom this vegetable remains one of the highlights of spring.

Lemon chicken with white asparagus, brown butter and miniature onions


(serves two)

White asparagus might be lauded by health gurus for its low calorie count but this recipe more than makes up for this by making use of copious quantities of butter. White asparagus is a splendid vehicle for butter, and with some care taken to get some nice browning on the onions, you can create a wonderful depth of flavor. The vegetable aspect of this dish has more than enough flavor to serve as a starter without the addition of any meat.


For the vegetables:

6-8 stems white asparagus

12 tender green beans

50g unsalted butter

2 cloves garlic, minced

6-8 miniature onions, halved

300ml vegetable or chicken stock

For the chicken:

2 chicken legs

2 tbsp flour

4 slices of lemon

quarter cup dry white wine

quarter cup chicken stock

1 tbsp olive oil

50g butter, chilled and cubed


1. Peel the asparagus, removing the fibrous outer layer for at least three-quarters of its length. Remove the woody section at the base.

2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil with a generous pinch of salt. Add the asparagus to the boiling water and cook for three minutes. Remove and drain. Set aside.

3. In a large skillet melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until the onions color and the butter turns golden brown with a nutty fragrance.

4. Add the garlic and green beans. (If the beans are not very tender, they can be blanched beforehand). Cook for two or three minutes until beans begin to soften.

5. Add the stock and asparagus and bring to a simmer, cooking for about 15 minutes until the stock has almost completely evaporated and the asparagus is very tender.

6. While the asparagus is cooking, season the chicken legs with salt. Preheat oven to 180c.

7. Heat a skillet, add olive oil and place the chicken skin side down to cook over medium heat until the skin is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Turn over, and fry other side for about 2 minutes.

8. Put the chicken legs in an oven-proof dish and place in oven for about 10 minutes or until cooked through. Turn off the oven and keep the legs warm as you prepare the other elements.

9. Place the slices of lemon in the oil of the still-hot skillet and cook over medium heat for about 2 minutes. Add the white wine, then the stock. Bring to a simmer.

10. Roll the chilled cubed butter in the flour, coating completely. Add to the simmering liquid a cube at a time, beating vigorously with a whisk. Allow the sauce to thicken then set aside.

11. Remove the chicken from the oven and pour over the lemon sauce. Serve with the asparagus.

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