When I think of asparagus recipes, I think of my oldest friend, who lives in London. One day she called to tell me about a 50th birthday party she planned to throw for her husband.

She had rented a chateau in the Poitou-Charentes part of western France for a week and invited about 15 friends. She said, “Just buy your plane ticket. You don’t have to worry about the rest.”

We had two young children at the time. But we KNEW this was one of those places to visit we’d never otherwise see. So we went! (And left the kids with grandma.)

Everyone there loved food. So other than the being together, the best thing was the local Farmer’s Market. It wasn’t just the French cheese, bread, and pastries. Talk about garden vegetables! It was late spring, so there were LOTS of delicious vegetables. Artichokes, arugula, and asparagus!

White Asparagus = White Gold

This was the first time I saw white asparagus. And after one of the other guests cooked it, I was hooked.

Thinking back, I don’t know if it was the hollandaise sauce on the asparagus or the effect of long walks and good wine. All I know is that I wanted seconds. I’d have had thirds if there’d been any left.

Although common in Europe, white asparagus is not so common in the U.S.. Here, green asparagus rules. The difference between the two? It starts in the field. White asparagus is covered in soil to slow photosynthesis.

Growing white asparagus is more labor intensive. That’s why white asparagus stalks cost more. Sometimes people call them “white gold” or “edible ivory.”

Backyard Deck Ideas: Deck Pond

White Asparagus in White Sauce

White asparagus stalks have a higher sugar content and milder flavor than green. And, unlike green asparagus, they must be peeled. Also (unlike green), the most valued white spears are thick ones.

Since coming back from France I’ve sometimes managed to find white asparagus at my local Farmer’s Market. But I mostly  cook with green since it is easy to find.

Now, here are my favorite asparagus recipes!

Asparagus Recipes

Backyard Deck Ideas: Deck Pond

Grilled Asparagus Recipes

Over the years, I’ve tried lots of asparagus recipes.

One thing I love to make is grilled asparagus. My guess is this is the most popular way to cook it. It’s great for patio parties and outdoor entertaining!

I make grilled asparagus in in huge quantities. Then I save the extra for salads during the week.

This recipe from Allrecipes.com is quite easy to prepare.

While grilled asparagus is wonderful, my “go-to” asparagus recipe is stir fried. I’ve experimented with stir fry asparagus over the years. Here’s what I do…

I cut the tips off one bunch. Then I stir fry them with two tablespoons of red onion and a clove of crushed garlic in a bit of sesame oil. I also add two teaspoons each of lite soy sauce and balsamic vinegar.

Before serving, I sprinkle the asparagus with toasted sesame seeds. Voilà!  Asparagus Stir Fry = a family hit!

If you’re lucky enough to find white stalks, there are lots of good asparagus recipes for them. This classic German recipe is great. It’s SO easy. (Again, extras are delicious in cold salads.)

While you can get asparagus year-round, April is the best time to buy it fresh and savor it.