Side/ Vegetarian

White Asparagus Mimosa

May 6, 2020 (Last Updated: June 3, 2020) by Chef Molly

White Asparagus Mimosa is a classic French recipe that highlights delicate, lightly sweet white asparagus with a lemon-caper vinaigrette topped with minced hard-boiled eggs. 

white asparagus mimosa on plate with serving fork and napkin

Have you ever tried white asparagus? Here in France, white asparagus is all over the market stands in the spring. In fact, I think I’ve seen more white asparagus than green asparagus. It can be hard to find in the United States, but if you do come across some, I’d highly recommend giving it a try. White asparagus has a mild asparagus flavor that shines in this French White Asparagus Mimosa recipe. 

While eggs mimosa sometimes refers to deviled eggs, in this preparation “mimosa” refers to the topping of minced hard-boiled eggs that goes with the vinaigrette. First, boil asparagus until tender, then chill slightly before topping with a lemon-caper vinaigrette and those sunny egg crumbs. This dish makes a lovely lunch plate, and would be just stunning as part of a brunch spread. Trust me, these beauties are worth getting your hands on!

cutting board with shallot, capers, lemon, parsley, white asparagus, eggs, olive oil in front of dark background

How to Make White Asparagus Mimosa

1. Rinse, then peel 2 pounds of asparagus.

peeling stalk of white asparagus with vegetable peeler and peeled stalks of asparagus in background

2. Cut off bottom 1/2-inch of each stalk.

3. Bring a large skillet or saucepan of salted water to boil. The pan needs to be large enough to fit the asparagus spears.

4. Turn down heat slightly, add asparagus, and cook for 10-20 minutes, depending on the width of the asparagus stalks. You should be able to easily pierce the asparagus stalks with a knife when they are fully cooked.

large skillet of white asparagus in boiling water

5. Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with ice water. When the asparagus are tender, drain carefully (or remove with tongs), and then add to bowl with ice water. After a minute or two, use tongs to remove the asparagus, pat dry with a paper towel or clean kitchen towel, and place on a serving plate.

6. Put plate into the refrigerator to chill while you are making the eggs and vinaigrette. Keep the ice bath for the hard-boiled eggs. 

7. To hard boil your eggs, put 2 eggs in a deep saucepan and cover with an inch of water. Bring to a full rolling boil, then turn off the heat, cover saucepan, and let them sit for 10 minutes.

8. Ready your ice bath (you may need to add a couple of more ice cubes). After 10 minutes, remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and place into the ice water bath. Let sit for 5 minutes. 

9. Make the vinaigrette by whisking together 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 teaspoon lemon zest, 6 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon of minced shallots, 1 1/2 tablespoons of chopped capers, 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary.

caper-lemon vinaigrette in glass bowl with whisk

10. Peel hard-boiled eggs and chop them delicately into small pieces (try not to smash together the whites and yolks).  

11. Drizzle vinaigrette over asparagus, then sprinkle with chopped eggs. Serve. 

close up of white asparagus mimosa

Ingredient Notes for White Asparagus Mimosa

  • Asparagus: White asparagus has a lovely mild flavor that works beautifully with this vinaigrette, but you can easily substitute green asparagus. Note that you only need to peel green asparagus if you have thick stalks. Also, green asparagus will usually not take as long to boil, so watch carefully, and test frequently to see whether they are done. Feel free to steam the white or green asparagus as well. 
  • Eggs: You can leave these out if you’re looking for a vegan asparagus dish. The caper vinaigrette alone is fantastic on asparagus.
  • Lemon Juice/Zest: This recipe uses about one lemon’s worth of juice and zest. You can substitute lime instead or else use white wine vinegar instead of lemon juice and omit the zest. 
  • Shallots: Feel free to replace the shallots with minced red or white onion, or chopped scallions. Minced chives would also be a good substitution.
  • Capers: You can make this vinaigrette without the capers if you’d like, or you can replace them with chopped green olives. 
  • Parsley: I typically prefer flat-leaf parsley as a general rule, but curly parsley is absolutely fine (in fact, I used it when I took these pictures!)

Can You Make-Ahead This White Asparagus Recipe?

This recipe is a good one for make-ahead. I would recommend keeping your ingredients separately until it’s time to serve, but you can cook the asparagus, hard-boil the eggs, and make the vinaigrette all a day or two in advance. Leftovers even keep well in the refrigerator for a couple of days.

What is the Difference Between White and Green Asparagus?

White asparagus has quite a cult following. It is very popular in Europe, especially in Germany. It’s sometimes known as “edible ivory” or even “white gold.” White asparagus is grown in the dark, which prevents photosynthesis and thereby the production of chlorophyll, which causes the green color in vegetables. Most production in Europe comes from France’s Loire Valley and Germany, where Germans celebrate white asparagus season with festivals and walking tours. White asparagus is often more expensive than its green brethren, in part because it has a unique cultivation process and is harvested completely by hand. In terms of flavor, white asparagus is more mild than green asparagus and a bit sweeter. 

When is White Asparagus Season?

Asparagus is a spring vegetable. Like that of green asparagus, white asparagus season in Europe is between April and June. The age of the asparagus plant can be determined by the thickness of the stems—older stalks are thicker than young ones. In white asparagus, the thicker spears are most highly sought after. 

How to Store Asparagus

As with green asparagus, white asparagus should be stored in the refrigerator. It will last at least a few days in the crisper drawer if you keep it loosely wrapped in a produce bag. To extend its shelf life, you can wrap a damp paper towel around the bottom of the stalks before putting back into the bag. In general, white asparagus generally does not keep as long as green asparagus. 

Do You Have to Peel White Asparagus?

Unlike green asparagus, which you can sometimes eat without needing to peel it, white asparagus always must be peeled. It has quite a fibrous outer layer that is too tough and woody to eat. Use a sharp vegetable peeler to peel, or a paring knife if you don’t have a peeler that will work. You will also need to cut off the woody ends of the asparagus stalks. 

Other Ideas for White Asparagus Recipes

  • Poach in a mixture of water, butter, lemon juice, and salt
  • Steam using a steamer basket and serve with Hollandaise sauce or my Truffle Aioli
  • Make soup or a purée by cooking in stock and then blending
  • Serve cooked stalks sliced in a salad
  • Pickle it using white wine vinegar or rice vinegar
  • Make a decadent cheesy gratin with this White Asparagus Roquefort Gratin
  • Serve cooked stalks wrapped in serrano ham or prosciutto
  • Roast in the oven at high heat
  • Grill (careful not to burn the outside before the stalks are tender) 
  • Use as a pizza topping, along with something salty like prosciutto or pepperoni
  • Replace them in a traditional green asparagus dish, such as in this Smoked Salmon and Asparagus Pasta

Is Asparagus Good for You?

Yes. Asparagus is low in calories and fat but contains several essential vitamins and minerals. Asparagus is a good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Vitamin C, folate, and fiber. It also contains smaller amounts of potassium, phosphorus, and Vitamin E. Nutritional content varies slightly between the various types of asparagus, including white, green, and purple. For example, purple asparagus includes anthocyanins, a type of antioxidant that has been shown to reduce blood pressure. White asparagus has double the amount of vitamin C than green asparagus, but half as much Vitamin A.

plate of white asparagus mimosa on plate with fork and kitchen towel above plate

Other Delicious Vegetable Side Dishes

I love eating seasonal vegetables—they are always so much more delicious when they come straight from the farm. For some of my favorite vegetable recipes, check out the following: 

white asparagus mimosa on plate with serving fork and napkin

White Asparagus Mimosa

Yield: Serves 6
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

White Asparagus Mimosa is a classic French recipe that highlights delicate, lightly sweet white asparagus with a lemon-caper vinaigrette topped with minced hard-boiled eggs.

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. white asparagus
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 T. lemon juice
  • 1 t. lemon zest
  • 6 T. olive oil
  • 1 T. minced shallots
  • 1 1/2 T. capers, chopped
  • 2 T. chopped parsley
  • 1/4 t. kosher salt
  • 1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

    1. Rinse, then peel asparagus. Cut off bottom 1/2-inch of each stalk.
    2. Bring a large skillet or saucepan of salted water to boil. The pan should be large enough to fit the asparagus spears.
    3. Turn down heat slightly, add asparagus, and cook for 10-20 minutes, depending on the width of the asparagus stalks. You should be able to easily pierce the asparagus stalks with a knife when they are fully cooked.
    4. Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with ice water. When the asparagus are tender, drain carefully (or remove with tongs), and then add to bowl with ice water.
    5. After a minute or two, use tongs to remove the asparagus, pat dry with a paper towel or clean kitchen towel, and place on a serving plate. Put plate into the refrigerator to chill while you are making the eggs and vinaigrette. Keep the ice bath for the hard-boiled eggs.
    6. To hard boil your eggs, put them in a deep saucepan and cover with an inch of water.
    7. Bring to a full rolling boil, then turn off the heat, cover saucepan, and let them sit for 10 minutes.
    8. Ready your ice bath (you may need to add a couple of more ice cubes). After 10 minutes, remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and place into the ice water bath. Let sit for 5 minutes.
    9. Make the vinaigrette by whisking together lemon juice, zest, olive oil, shallots, capers, parsley, salt, and pepper. Taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary.
    10. Peel hard-boiled eggs and chop them delicately into small pieces (try not to smash together the whites and yolks).
    11. Drizzle vinaigrette over asparagus, then sprinkle with chopped eggs. Serve.

Notes

If you want to make this dish ahead, White Asparagus Mimosa will keep for at least a couple of days in the refrigerator. Prepare the asparagus, eggs, and vinaigrette separately, and combine when ready to serve.

Recipe notes:

  • Asparagus can be steamed instead of boiled
  • Eggs can be hard-boiled using whatever technique you prefer

Ingredient substitutions:

  • Asparagus: White asparagus has a lovely mild flavor that works beautifully with this vinaigrette, but you can easily substitute green asparagus. Green asparagus only needs to be peeled if you have thick stalks. Also, it will not take as long to boil, so watch carefully, and test frequently to see whether they are done.
  • Eggs: You can leave these out if you’re looking for a vegan asparagus dish. The caper vinaigrette alone is fantastic on asparagus.
  • Lemon Juice/Zest: This recipe uses about one lemon’s worth of juice and zest. You can substitute lime instead or else use white wine vinegar instead of lemon juice and omit the zest.
  • Shallots: Feel free to replace the shallots with minced red or white onion, or chopped scallions. Minced chives would also be a good substitution.
  • Capers: You can make this vinaigrette without the capers if you’d like, or you can replace them with chopped green olives.
  • Parsley: I typically prefer flat-leaf parsley as a general rule, but curly parsley is absolutely fine.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 180Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 62mgSodium: 195mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 3gSugar: 2gProtein: 6g

Nutrition information is provided as a general reference for users courtesy of the online nutrition calculator Nutritionix.

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Jeff the Chef
    May 9, 2020 at 1:44 pm

    I’ll bet this is delicious! I know it’s asparagus season where I live, but I heard the farmers were having a hard time harvesting it because of the pandemic. I’ll have to keep my eye open at the grocery store. Also, curious about how the word “mimosa” came to be used for this, and for the classic brunch cocktail. Will have to go look that up!

    • Reply
      Chef Molly
      May 15, 2020 at 2:11 pm

      I know, weird, right? I had to look it up twice. No idea why the word “mimosa” would mean very different things. But it inspired me to then make a Strawberry Mimosa. 😂

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