Thanks to the warm weather we’ve had lately, Dutch white asparagus are available some weeks earlier than other years. I was shopping for a dinner party and had realized (1) that I wanted to add some more vegetables to the menu and (2) that I did not have a cheese or dessert course yet, when I saw beautiful Dutch white asparagus for a reasonable price. I love to pair asparagus and goat cheese, which both go well with Sauvignon Blanc. But I had already decided on the appetizer. Then I remembered I still have a few bottles of a rare late harvest Sancerre (Sauvignon Blanc) from 2005. And so I decided to create this hybrid between a cheese course and a dessert by adding a bit of honey, so that it would be an excellent pairing with the mildly sweet late harvest Sancerre. I prepared the asparagus sous-vide as that is the best way to preserve their delicate flavor, but you could also steam them.
This dish will work with any soft but pungent goat cheese. For the best flavor try to find a raw milk French goat cheese and make sure to serve it at room temperature.
For 4 servings
8 white asparagus
100 grams (3.5 oz) soft goat cheese
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp butter
salt and freshly ground white pepper
White asparagus need to be peeled. Start peeling just below the tip. Remove the bottom 1 cm (1/2 inch) of the asparagus.
Season the asparagus with salt and freshly ground white pepper.
Vacuum seal with 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of honey.
Cook sous-vide for 45 minutes at 85C/185F.
Pour the liquid from the bag into a saucepan, and bring to a boil.
Reduce until you have about 120 ml (1/2 cup) left.
Serve the asparagus with the sauce and the goat cheese.
As mentioned in the introduction, this calls for a mildly sweet Sauvignon Blanc. A Sancerre vendange tardive may be hard to find, but there are late harvest Sauvignon Blanc from places like Chile that should be more easy. We enjoyed this with a 2005 Vendange de la Saint-Luc from Henri Bourgeois. It has a wonderful balance and complexity, is mildly sweet, and was perfect with this dish.