2 min read


white asparagus a la barigoule
Emily chia peeling white asparagus

A creative take on the famous Provençal spring recipe: Asparagus à la barigoule. Warm, slightly tangy white-wine broth/ an aromatic oil. Served with parmesan and walnut oil. Seeing White Asparagus in Parisian markets is a sign that Spring has officially arrived in France regardless of the weather. The nights still get cold around this Winter/ Spring limbo and I find the perfect preparation is something rustic like a provençale barigoule that feels hearty without feeling heavy.


Serves 4


1 bunch of White Asparagus
1 head of fennel, finely chopped
1 Roscoff onion, finely chopped
1 white or yellow carrot, finely chopped
Handful of shucked petit pois
Big splash of white wine
Small splash of Xeres vinegar
A few sprigs of lemon thyme
Olive oil
Walnut oil


To prepare the White Asparagus:

1. Snap or cut off the woody ends as you would with green asparagus. There is a woody outer layer easily peeled with a vegetable peeler 2-3cm from the tip down. Lightly salt them to draw out the bitterness, or you can skip this step if you don’t mind the natural bitter flavor of asparagus in the final dish.

2. Prepare your onion, fennel and carrot, all chopped approximately the same size, and start to sauté them in a pan on medium-low heat with a good glug of good olive oil and pinch of salt. Try not to color the vegetables. Once your onions have gone translucent, splash in a glass of dry white wine and a couple of tablespoons of Xeres vinegar. Now it’s time for the asparagus! Crowd them into the pan, preferably maximum two layers, with the liquid from the simmered vegetables not quite covering the asparagus. If you need a bit more liquid add some vegetable stock or a bit of water. Cover with a lid and let it tick along on low heat for 5-10 minutes. The White Asparagus is ready when you can insert the sharp tip of a knife in the thickest end and it comes out without resistance.

3. Taste the bouillon and re-season with salt and vinegar to your taste.

To plate:

4. There is a short window in Spring when petit pois need nothing other than shucking. I could eat them by the bowlful. To the warm asparagus, sprinkle in the petit pois and picked lemon thyme. Then drizzle a bit of walnut oil and dust with some parmesan if you happen to have some in your back pocket.


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