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Salad showcases a softer, white side of asparagus

Salad showcases a softer, white side of asparagus

Spring means asparagus, one of the first vegetables to push up through the soil. And in markets this

“From the SCCC Kitchen” offers tastes from Schenectady County Community College’s culinary arts program. Today, instructor Tom Alicandro concludes a four-part series on vegetable side dishes.

Spring means asparagus, one of the first vegetables to push up through the soil. And in markets this time of year, shoppers can find it not only in the traditional green, but in white — grown under heavy mulch or plastic, deprived of sunlight.

Tom Alicandro takes advantage of the white variety for a tender salad. He said the color is the biggest difference — white asparagus is a little softer than the more verdant version.

“They grow this where no light touches it. The light of day never touches them, so no chlorophyll is formed, so there’s no green,” Alicandro said.

Alicandro likes serving asparagus in a salad because many people expect to see the vegetable complementing main courses. The asparagus stalks are trimmed, boiled and tossed with a simple vinaigrette that includes pepper, olive oil, white wine vinegar and minced shallot, chives and chervil.

White Asparagus Salad

2 pounds white asparagus

1 tablespoon butter

Salt, to taste

1 pinch sugar

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

1 shallot, minced

1 bunch chives, minced

1 bunch chervil, minced

Pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Wash and peel the asparagus, peeling down from the top of the tip to the thicker end. Cut off the ends.

Bring plenty of water to a boil in a pan with the butter, salt and sugar. Put the asparagus in the water and cook over low heat for 12 to 15 minutes. Lift out of the pan, drain and keep warm.

Cut asparagus into 1-inch pieces. Combine the remaining ingredients to produce a vinaigrette and toss with the asparagus while it is still warm. Serves 4.

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