Asparagus season is a huge deal in Germany. Here ‘Asparagus’ refers to white asparagus, whereas green asparagus is, shockingly, ‘green asparagus.’ But we love all colors and are prompt to use both as much as possible. We are enjoying their not-so-subtle differences together as they do complement each other. We just threw them together and made white and green asparagus with goat cheese.
We’re less fond of the traditional way of serving overcooked white asparagus with boiled potatoes drowned in hollandaise. We much prefer to pan-roast asparagus, which gives it sweeter notes without the need to add sugar (as is often done in the classic, overcooked version).
This recipe calls for tarragon mustard, which might not be the most accessible product. Still, if you can find it, we recommend using it.
You can use tarragon mustard in many different things, from vinaigrettes to braises or soups. If you can’t find it, you can make it yourself: just mix some tarragon with dijon mustard and let it sit for a while. Asparagus and tarragon are a match made in heaven. German kiddo Sophia grew up eating this combo every spring. She even believed her mother invented this dish (which is not the case!) because nobody else around her was eating their asparagus this way.
Any fresh soft goat cheese will do fine for the goat cheese cream. However, if you like a more intense cheesy flavor, you could use ripe goat cheese (rind removed or mixed in for an even more, intenser flavor). Blend it with some milk or water to get a creamy texture. We added wild garlic to our goat cheese, as its season correlates with asparagus season. It is, however, much shorter. So for the asparagus-late-bloomers among you, tarragon (we love repeating ingredients in different dish elements) or chives would be a good substitute.
Serve this as a main dish, a side dish, or even a topping for our flatbread.
Asparagus With Goat Cheese
- 300 g green asparagus
- 300 g white asparagus peeled
- 100 g fresh goat cheese
- 5-6 springs wild garlic chopped fine
- 2 sprigs shallots finely chopped
- 1-2 tsp tarragon mustard or mix regular mustard with dried or fresh tarragon
- 1 splash of pernod or other anise-y alcohol optional
- 1 splash white wine vinegar
- 1/2 lemon zest and juice
- slot olive oil or more
- 1 handful hazelnuts
- Toast the hazelnuts in the oven at 160 degrees celsius for about 8 minutes. Let them cool, then roughly crush.
- For the vinaigrette, sautee the shallots in a little olive oil till translucent, add the tarragon mustard and white wine vinegar, cook for two more minutes then transfer to a bowl.
- When slightly chilled, add juice of half a lemon, stream in olive oil to create a thick, creamy vinaigrette.
- For the goat cheese cream, whisk goat cheese with lemon zest and wild garlic, add a little olive oil as needed to create a smooth creamy spread. Add salt if needed.
- Blanch the green asparagus in boiling salted water, no longer than 2 minutes, transfer into a bowl of ice cold water to stop the cooking. Never overcook your asparagus!
- Cut both white and green asparagus into chunks, about 4 pieces per spear.
- Heat a large pan, add olive oil. When the oil is very hot add the asparagus, do not overcrowd the pan. If using pernod, after about 2 minutes of cooking add a splash and tilt pan towards the flame to flambe (or use a long nosed lighter if cooking on an induction stove).
- Sear the asparagus well on all sides, about 2 more minutes, season with salt and pepper.
- To plate, spread the goat cheese on the bottom of a shallow bowl, add the asparagus, spoon over the vinaigrette, and finish with the toasted hazelnuts.
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