White Asparagus, Shaved Avocado, Tarragon Mayonnaise

Peruvian White Asparagus
Shaved Californian Avocado
Tarragon Mayonnaise
I was shopping at Whole Foods Market today for meat to make a very Autumn-Style dish for a big party this weekend: Stout Braised Short Ribs, a two-day process which we will be starting tomorrow morning.
Walking into the produce section, I noticed this big display of asparagus, the quintessential Spring vegetable, right? Turns out this asparagus was from Peru. Where Spring has sprung! In solidarity with my Southern Hemisphere Cooking Compadres, I picked up some asparagus to serve along side a Whole Foods pre-cooked smoked chicken tonight. Their smoked chicken is really good.
White Asparagus

Trim off the end of the asparagus, then shave the entire stalk with a vegetable peeler.

Place shaved asparagus stalks in salted simmering water with a bay leaf. Cook until tender, taste for doneness. This was about 8 minutes. When tender, place asparagus in an ice bath to stop the cooking, then dry on paper towels.

Mix mayonnaise with finely chopped fresh tarragon, salt and pepper, and a splash of tarragon vinegar. Tonight’s dinner had to be effortless, considering the upcoming party and all the cooking involved. But…
Mayonnaise aficionados might appreciate an “almost effortless” homemade version, compliments of Julia Child, that I paired with fresh swordfish here.

“Mayonnaise is one of the finest and most important sauces in classic cuisine. The shame is that few of us ever taste the kind of fresh handmade mayonnaise that deserves such culinary status – and even dedicated home cooks don’t realize that making their own is a simple process that takes only minutes and, if you use a food processor, almost no effort at all.” Julia Child

Shave a slightly under-ripe avocado into strips with the vegetable peeler. Season asparagus with salt and pepper, ladle tarragon mayonnaise over the center, top with shaved avocado ribbons. Add a tarragon sprig for garnish. This side dish was really simple and quite lovely.
Happy Spring to My Blogger Friends in the Southern Hemisphere!

For more information on Peruvian White Asparagus, please visit Gourmet Trading Company here.

27 thoughts on “White Asparagus, Shaved Avocado, Tarragon Mayonnaise”

  1. I love the shaved avocado. I never would have thought of doing that. Lovely way to use it as garnish. Though, I love everything about this dish. ;-D

  2. Lori, if I look out my window it looks anything but Spring, it is rainy and cold today. Suites me just fine though!!! I love the idea of shaving the avocado, very clever. Overall a most elegant dish!!!

  3. What a beautiful dish! I love all the flavors. I grew up eating white asparagus, so this dish brings back memories…

  4. I wish Julia had an Italian cookbook! This is scrumptious and will have to try – homemade mayo and all. Especially while my tarragon lasts. Glad it's spring somewhere.

  5. As the autumn chill has just arrived in NY, this is a nice reminder of milder days. I don't see white asparagus often, and must admit, the last time I made it, I think I bungled the preparation. Glad to have your easy steps on hand.

  6. Thank you all for your nice comments. I first saw this shaved avocado at a Japanese restaurant on a salad. Posted September 2007.

    TW – me too, I think the problem I had in the past was not shaving the entire stalk.


  7. What a pristine looking plate of food! The shaved avocado is genius, and a good idea when maybe the avocados are not as soft as some seasons.

  8. This is an interesting combination. I have not tried white asparagus and would not have thought about shaving the avocados. When I was growing up in France, when my grandparents would visit us my mother always asked me to make the mayonnaise. First the yolk, then the mustard, then the oil poured in a slow uninterrupted thread. I remember this as being tedious and taking forever. But my memory of the time passing might have been different than now. I shall try this dish just as you described it as it looks delicious. And by the way I’ll be in Paris next week and shall look for that Basque cheese you mentioned.

  9. Shaved avocado,
    what a great way to present avocado!

    Since I moved to Vienna, I have learned to appreciate white asparagus (the places I lived before, Rome and Washington DC, green asparagus is what's in the pots there). Here, the finest asparagus grows right outside the city limits. I have learned that white asparagus needs to be peeled all the way, from top to bottom, to be truly enjoyed.

    I learned to appreciate fresh mayonnaise at Franchi's Delicatessen in Rome. Friday it was always whole baked St. Peter's fish and fresh mayonnaise!

  10. Looks interesting….
    You mentioned Stout Braised Short Ribs in your article. I happen to have boneless Short ribs in my freezer. Do you have a recipe for the Stout Braised Short Ribs.
    Thank you

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