There is this brief window between mid and end of June when my two favorite seasons – speaking in terms of vegetable harvest seasons – overlap, and white asparagus – already on its way out – and fresh chanterelles, themselves just starting their season, are available at the same time. And they are excellent companions – so I urge you to go and make a run for the last white asparagus of the season alongside with the first fresh chanterelles. It is just too sad to deny yourself the pleasure of this marriage made in heaven – or rather in your cooking pans 😉
Ingredients (per serving):
- approx. 80 to 90 grams of tagliatelle (I use home-made tagliatelle which Cyrus makes himself – I am sure he will post a recipe here soon)
- 4 to 5 spears of white asparagus
- approx. 100 ml of white cooking wine
- salt and sugar for boiling the white asparagus
- 4 to 5 spears of green asparagus
- approx. 100 grams of fresh chanterelles
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil (high-temparature olive oil)
- 1 slice of pancetta (tesa), not too thick (skip if you want to make this a vegetarian dish)
- 50 ml of cooking sherry
- freshly ground pepper, salt for seasoning
- 1 tablespoon of fresh parsley, finely chopped (leave a few leaves for decoration)
- freshly ground parmesan (parmigiano reggiano)
- Peel the white asparagus. Bring water and the cooking wine to the boil in a large pot. I suggest using a large steam pot; I however fill in enough water for the asparagus to boil directly in the water – I find it extracts the bitterness better (naturally, I have zero proof for this, but I fared well with it). Add approx. 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 2 tablespoons of sugar – I find that white asparagus becomes more bitter towards the end of the season (and there is some explanation for this one!), so I suggest not being too ungenerous with the sugar. Add the white asparagus and let it boil until soft (approx. 20 to 25 minutes). It should not become too soft (here is the test: the individual spear should not bend down when you lift it with kitchen tongs from the center).
- Set the white asparagus aside and let cool down. Then cut into ca. 2 cm long pieces.
- Cut of approx. 1/3 of the green asparagus from the bottom end. Wash and cut into ca. 2 cm long pieces.
- Wash the chanterelles by mixing approx. 1 tablespoon of flour into a bowl of water. Clean properly then rinse briefly under fresh cold water.
- Heat up the olive oil in a frying pan over medium to high temperature. Add the shallot and fry until it softens. Then add the pancetta and fry briefly.
- Add the chanterelles and fry over medium to high temperature for about 5 minute then turn down the heat to medium. The chanterelles will release water during the frying process. Continue frying over medium temperature until most of liquid has evaporated.
- In the meantime, boil water for the pasta. Add approx. 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Add the pasta while preparing the fried vegetables so that it will be ready and al dente when the vegetables are done.
- Add the green asparagus and continue frying for 5 to 7 minutes. Then add the white asparagus and continue frying for 2 minutes. Should the vegetable become to dry, add the sherry earlier, otherwise add it now and let reduce for approx. two minutes. In the meantime, season with freshly ground pepper and salt.
- Add the pasta to the pan during the last minute of the frying process and mix well with the rest of the ingredients.
- Take off the heat and mix in the freshly ground parsley.
- Serve with ground parmesan and decorate with a few leaves of fresh parsley.