For restaurateur Neal Brown, asparagus is the quintessential spring vegetable—which pokes through the Indiana soil for an eye-blink of a growing season in late April and early May. So Brown, who operates Pizzology, Stella (now closed), and Ukiyo, squeezes as much life out of his favorite vegetable as he can. “I gravitate toward the pencil-thin asparagus, because it gets nice and crispy when you roast it. But I like all sizes of asparagus, depending on how I am going to use it,” says Brown. “And by the way, I eat asparagus with my fingers. I think everybody should eat asparagus with their fingers.”
Here, he tells us how to peel white asparagus.
White asparagus, which is grown in mounds or underground to prevent the stalks from turning green, has a woody outer skin that must be removed before cooking. “You have to peel it all the way down, and there is nothing fun about that,” Brown says. Use a paring knife or vegetable peeler to pull off that top layer in fine strips.
Want more? Check out Brown’s roasted asparagus recipe here.