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Antonio Minichiello on White Asparagus

White asparagus photo by Kang Kim

Photo by Kang Kim

Head to the Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas’ elegant Verandah restaurant for a sleeper surprise. Namely, charismatic toque Antonio Minichiello’s inspired Southern Italian fare with colorful riffs on tradition (think artichoke pasta cooked in a jar with scallops). This month, the native Italian has white asparagus on his mind.

“I love this vegetable for its versatility,” says Minichiello. “Use it in a nice, crunchy salad, sauté it with butter and honey for a perfect side dish or cream it for a tasty and refreshing soup.”

And don’t miss the chef’s scintillating poached white asparagus with house-cured morel mushrooms, raw greens, red onions and schiacciata salami from Calabria.

White Asparagus Fun Facts
White asparagus is grown through the labor-intensive process of “etiolation,” or light deprivation. Dirt is mounded around the emerging stalk to prevent the production of chlorophyll, thus keeping the asparagus white.

Asparagus is a Greek word that translates as “sprout” or “shoot.”

Unlike its green brethren, white asparagus has a thick and bitter skin, so peel the bottom two-thirds of each spear to maximize the flavor potential.

Where to Get It
This spring, white asparagus makes a star turn on menus from San Francisco to Midtown Manhattan.

       
San Francisco’s SPQR prepares a cocoa pasta millefoglie with ricotta, white asparagus and truffled pecorino.     NYC’s always-humming STK Midtown steakhouse pairs white asparagus with a soft-boiled egg aioli.      Chicago’s Ada St. offers chilled white and green asparagus with deviled eggs and anchovy toast. 
 

 

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