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white asparagus?

edebudeliao May 14, 2010 10:34 AM

Has anyone seen white asparagus on sale in the 617 area code? I am hankering after some, and don't care much for the green

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  1. t
    teezeetoo RE: edebudeliao May 14, 2010 12:44 PM

    i've seen them at Russos, but that's watertown. Call the Whole Foods nearest you and see if they have them.

    1. kobuta RE: edebudeliao May 14, 2010 12:50 PM

      I see these at my local Stop & Shop all the time.

      1. Allstonian RE: edebudeliao May 14, 2010 02:39 PM

        Just saw bunches in the Allston Star about 90 minutes ago.

        1. y
          y2000k RE: edebudeliao May 14, 2010 03:50 PM

          Russo's has it almost year-round, they are from Peru, not the delicate ones from Europe. Right now they are $2.98/lb.

          2 Replies
          1. re: y2000k
            almansa RE: y2000k May 14, 2010 07:02 PM

            This is a very important distinction. Peruvian white asparagus can be treated like green asparagus (short cooking time, etc) but bears little similarity to the real thing. It is more of a color (or lack, thereof) novelty. If you're looking for the lusciousness of European white asparagus, don't expect to see it in many markets. I last saw it wholesale at more than $1 per stalk. Also, it was a crappy season this year.

            1. re: almansa
              y2000k RE: almansa May 14, 2010 07:17 PM

              While the Peruvian white asparagus doesn't taste like its European counterpart, it still has a distinctive mild flavor; very different from green asparagus. In Spring, i prefer the fresh green ones. However, in the fall/winter times, I prefer the white ones, and I make them at least 2x/month. They are quite wonderful with a Dijon mustard vinaigrette.

          2. pikawicca RE: edebudeliao May 14, 2010 07:14 PM

            Having lived and eaten in Germany during Spargel Zeit, I have to say that the white asparagus we get in the States sucks in comparison to the European spears, which are fat, succulent, and full of flavor. The stuff we get here isn't worth eating.

            5 Replies
            1. re: pikawicca
              MichaelB RE: pikawicca May 14, 2010 07:23 PM

              I've never had the real stuff in Europe but I'd agree that even in its own right that Peruvian white asparagus is nasty. Tried it once - stringy and really bitter - never again. (Which makes sense - asparagus declines pretty quickly after harvest, and it must take a few weeks to ship it from Peru.)

              1. re: MichaelB
                katzzz RE: MichaelB May 15, 2010 06:44 AM

                Cook's Illustrated had something about white v. green asparagus in a recent (maybe most recent) issue. Basically compared Peruvian white to green. The white, if I recall correctly, is simply chlorophyll deprived green, and tastes the same or not quite as good as the green. Bottom line was that Peruvian white costs more money and you are not getting anything for your money except a different color.

                1. re: katzzz
                  Allstonian RE: katzzz May 15, 2010 07:00 AM

                  *All* white asparagus is chlorophyll-deprived green asparagus, not just the Peruvian variety.

                2. re: MichaelB
                  y2000k RE: MichaelB May 15, 2010 06:59 PM

                  Did you peel them? I always peel the white asparagus; and cook them in boiling water for 6 minutes. Never thought they were bitter at all. I even served it to my in-laws who are pickey-eaters and have never had (European or Peruvian) white asparagus, and they loved it.

                  1. re: MichaelB
                    AnotherMother RE: MichaelB Jun 10, 2010 04:19 AM

                    Actually asparagus is incredibly robust.

                    It will hold in cold storage for literally weeks. It loses a little in quality, but nowhere near as much as you might think. We grew it all through my childhood and and I remember occasionally eating it maybe four weeks after it was picked. If yours goes bad soon after purchase, it was probably picked, ahem, some time ago...

                    Also, with airfreight the ~theoretical~ delay between picking and purchasing should be less than a week.

                    I never liked the white asparagus much either - it always had a strong, bitter, musty/earthy flavor that was nowhere near as appealing as the fresh 'grassy-ness' of green asparagus.

                3. n
                  nwinkler RE: edebudeliao May 19, 2010 04:31 PM

                  Last year there were big fat white asparagus from France available at the Savenor's in Cambridge. By the time I got to them they were shriveled and not worth the $20+ price tag, but it might be worth calling to see whether/when they'll have them this year.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: nwinkler
                    Karl S RE: nwinkler Jun 10, 2010 11:11 AM

                    Some things do *not* travel well enough to be worth the effort. European white asparagus is, by almost all credible accounts, one of those things, and western hemisphere versions do not rank with it. If one wants the real deal, one must schedule travel to where it can be had locally in season.

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