Homage to White Asparagus



This is a love letter to a vegetable. Last week, four of us dined at the midtown country French restaurant we love, La Mangeoire, when lo and behold, white asparagus appeared on the menu as a special. We all ordered them as starters.

’Twas heaven. Spring had truly arrived. We could have skipped the main courses, had we not already ordered them, and simply doubled down on the asparagus.

What’s the big deal about “real” white asparagus? I say “real” because we’re talking about the plump, soft, juicy spears you find in Germany or France, and rarely in the U.S. What is usually found here posing as a white asparagus is more often a green asparagus painted white. Or that’s what it tastes like. According to a 2013 Times piece, most of the white asparagus here are imported from Peru. Now I have nothing against Peru -– except for their imitation European white asparagus. As it turns out, last night, at another favorite restaurant, I was served white asparagus accompanying my entree, and how disappointing they were! Only the color was in common with the asparagus at La Mangeoire.

I would suggest that if you want to experience the real deal, hie on down to Second Ave. near 53rd St. White asparagus is seasonal, and not on the menu every day; better to check first.

Ben Rosen


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3 Responses to “Homage to White Asparagus”

  1. Ben, since you’re a lover of white asparagus, you might try this dish at our family restaurant, Trestle on Tenth. My son-in-law, Chef Ralf Kuettel, is Swiss and grew up with that wonderful vegetable.

    Seared magret duck breast served over white asparagus, yellow beets, small turnips and brown beech mushrooms (blanched and warmed to order in butter and veg stock.) Served with greek yogurt herb sauce – parsley, tarragon, dill, chive, cilantro, salt, white pepper. Garnished with chervil leaves.


  2. We had the white asparagus at La Mangeoire last night and join in Ben’s enthusiastic review. Rotisserie Georgette has also had white asparagus.
    (Ps. La Mangeoire also has the best salted caramel gelato in town.)

  3. I have grown asparagus for over 40 years in America, Belgium and England. When running a European business I enjoyed my first spargle feasts in Germany.

    I began to experiment on growing half of my crop without covers (the green” and half with cover (to result in white asparagus). I have done this in Belgium and England with different asparagus varieties.

    I must say that allowing it to become green results in the best flavour to my taste!

    So love your white asparagus…it has just had shade rather than Sun!

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