White Asparagus Ham Roll Ups

Pin It While we were recently in Munich we saw white asparagus everywhere.  There were stands set up on the street, in the market, everyone was selling fresh white asparagus (or Spargel in German).  It is also quite popular in Belgium, and it's the season (late April-June).  Apparently it is all over Northwestern Europe, although I had never see it before in the states.  I wanted to try it for a while and finally got some the other day on promo, grown here in Belgium.  I made some yummy White Asparagus Ham Roll Ups.
The difference between white and green asparagus, is that the white is kept underground and never sees the sun, therefore doesn't develop chlorophyll...or something like that.  White, Green your pee will still smell.  Read more about white asparagus here.

Having no idea how to prepare white asparagus or what to do with it, I did some research.  First off, I saw you have to peel it.  Whaaaa?  Peel asparagus?  If you need help you can watch this German go mad on the asparagus.  That's what I did.  Then I found this delicious recipe on Food and Wine, which is what you should do, too.  
First lightly butter your baking dish and preheat the oven to 350 F (176C).  Then peel the asparagus, you don't need my help since you learned everything you needed to know from that awesome youtube video.  Peel top to bottom, just like the dude.  I used a regular peeler, in spite of his advice (it worked okay, but if you have a peeler like he does, it's probably better).  Don't throw away the peels, we will use them later. 
Put 8 c of water, your stems and peels and some salt in a large pot.  Bring to a boil.  Once boiling add the asparagus (bundled, if you like).  Continue over high heat for about 10 minutes or until asparagus is tender.
Remove cooked asparagus and set on a towel to dry.  Strain your water from excess peels and save 1 1/2 c of the liquid.
Melt butter, whisk in flour, and reserved liquid from above.  Add Salt and Pepper and a dash of nutmeg.  Whisk until slightly thickened.
  Wrap 3-4 spears in slices of ham.
Top with the gratin sauce and cover in shredded gruyere cheese. Bake for 25 minutes, until hot and bubbly.  Mmmmmm, it is sooo tasty.

White Asparagus Ham Roll Ups
Not really adapted, straight from Food & Wine

2 pounds white (or green) asparagus
8 c water
3 T unsalted butter
3 T flour
1 c reserved asparagus liquid
dash of nutmeg
salt & pepper
6 slices of good ham from deli
1 c shredded gruyere

Preheat oven to 350 F (176 C).  Peel the asparagus as the German in the video.  Fill a large pot with 8 c water, asparagus peels and stems, some salt.  Once water is brought to a boil, add the asparagus (bundled into 6, if you like).  Cook on high for about 10 minutes.  Remove asparagus and set onto a towel.  Pat dry.  Strain 1 1/2 cup of the asparagus liquid.  Reserve.

Melt butter in a small sauce pan, whisk in the flour.  Then add the reserved liquid, whisking constantly until sauce thickens.  About 5 minutes over medium heat.

Wrap asparagus in ham slices.  Set in shallow lightly buttered baking dish.  Top with sauce and cheese.  Bake for 25 minutes, until hot and bubbly.  Serve immediately.

Note: I made a half batch, which is what is pictured.  Following the recipe will make 6 bunches of Asparagus Ham roll ups.

Bon Appetit!
Serve with a side salad topped with sea salt, vinegar and olive oil.  This dish is a keeper.  Taste tester kept saying "Did you know it was going to be this good?"  Verdict: Getting white asparagus again while its still in season.  Of course you can make this recipe with green asparagus, but if you can find white in your area, I would definitely recommend!!  --- kinda looks like a hand?? Trust me it's not! 

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Rebecca said...

Do you think I can get white asparagus in Wisconsin??? If not - I will definitely try this recipe SOON - it sounds delish and I love asparagus! I had to chuckle about your hand comment, lol. :)

aglobetrottersfare said...

Haha yes! I should have photographed the one with three spears, to make it looks less handy. I am not sure if you can find it in Wisco! I never saw it before until I came here.... if not green will work just fine!

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