NEVER seeing the light of day is what gives white asparagus a more delicate and less herbaceous flavour than their green counterparts.
A prized ingredient in parts of Europe, the white asparagus is also well-received whenever featured at Feringgi Grill in Shangri-La Rasa Sayang, Penang.
This June and July, the milky white shoots return to star in four special dishes available both a la carte or as part of a five-course set menu priced at RM400.
According to sous chef Yeoh Chee Teong, the white asparagus season in Europe is in the spring but the asparagus featured at the hotel is imported from Peru where the growing season is longer due to a different climate.
Cultivation methods are similar, with the shoots completely covered in soil or plastic sheets as they grow. This prevents photosynthesis and the production of chlorophyll, the compound that makes vegetables green.
“They remain white and develop a unique mildly sweet and bitter flavour while being semi-crunchy,” said the chef.
This time, he has come up with a beautiful starter – Duo of Steamed Asparagus – with a supporting cast that includes smoked salmon, cherry tomatoes, yoghurt dressing and edible flowers.
Next is the velvety smooth White Asparagus Veloute complemented by a juicy seared Hokkaido scallop and drizzle of oregano oil.
For mains, choose either beef or fish. The succulent Wagyu Beef Tenderloin is paired with white asparagus spears, morels, zucchini and truffle jus for an umami-packed treat.
The Cod Fish comes with caviar, baby carrots and almond butter sauce for a rich taste which is contrasted by the white asparagus’ refreshing notes.
Dessert takes the form of Chocolate Martini, an indulgent combo of chocolate cake, burnt white chocolate, chocolate leaf, hot hazelnut and chocolate sauce.
The white asparagus menu is served alongside the grill’s regular a la carte offerings.
Rasa Wing, mezzanine level,
Shangri-La Rasa Sayang, Batu Ferringhi, Penang.
Business hours: 5.30pm to 10.30pm daily. Tel: 04-888 8788
This is the writer’s personal observation and not an endorsement by StarMetro