Ever since I first visited Spain, in the 1980´s, I´ve always regarded jarred or tinned white asparagus with disdain. Confused as to why so many people loved it. Unappreciative as to why a single spear would often be given pride of place on top of Ensaladas. Totally thrown as to why HUGE and expensive jars of the stuff are always on display at Christmas time alongside goodies such as Jamón and Turron.
I have a friend from Navarra whose opinion on food, wine and cooking I respect. When a tin of White Asparagus Spears was produced one evening recently, I was informed that Espárragos Blancos from Navarra was the best in the world. I suspected that something interesting was about to unfold. The tin was lovingly opened, the spears drained, a garlicky Salsa Verde whisked up and a magical platter of Navarran Esapárragos Blancos Extra, bathed in the glistening green salsa appeared in minutes. It was incredibly delicious
This week I have been looking at tins and jars of white asparagus through new eyes and realise that there are many Navarran pretenders around. BEWARE of jars and tins of White Asparagus grown and prepared in China – it will say this in the small print on the back.
3 cloves of garlic, peeled
120mls of mild olive oil
1 tbsp Sherry Vinegar
Handful of Parsley
Whiz in blender until garlic is pureed. Place drained spears on a platter and pour over green sauce.
Take a deep breath and be prepared to be impressed.