White asparagus must be peeled and trimmed before cooking, and if they are thin there is nothing left, so we always buy big, fat ones. My husband has become an expert at peeling them, leaving no coarse strings behind. White asparagus must also be cooked until tender, not crunchy, and this takes time, depending on their thickness and age it can take 20 minutes or more. Simmer them in salted water with a pinch of sugar. Test the asparagus at the thick end, I often insert a cake tester from the cut end, the whole length of the spear, if there is no resistance, I know they are ready. Drain them on a towel before serving. For our first meal we devoured them with hollandaise and slice country ham.
Next on the menu will be white asparagus with a maltaise sauce, using the blood oranges, which are still in the market. The other sign of spring is the bunches of peonies, one of my favourite flowers, everywhere. Here is a before and after photo of them.