Dining In 1 minute 04 April 2019

Recipe: White Asparagus with Maine Uni & Sunflower

Take a tip from Brooklyn chef Nico Russell when using the spring stalk.

ingredients recipe Spring

As the weather takes a turn for the better, chefs and avid homecooks alike are looking to ingredients of the season like morel mushrooms, ramps and white asparagus.

Like other spring produce, white asparagus has a short three-month season—and chefs are acting appropriately. Chef/owner David Posey is serving up white asparagus with crispy veal sweetbreads, sweet pickled shrimp and caramelized veal jus at his restaurant Elske in Chicago. At Italian fine dining restaurant Forlino in Singapore, chef Matteo Ponti gently poaches white asparagus in milk and aromatics and serves it with burratina D.O.P., salmon roe and Sardinian bottarga. At newly-opened Oxalis in Brooklyn’s Prospect Heights neighborhood, chef/owner Nico Russell sources his white asparagus from France, pickles it in shiro dashi and serves it with Maine uni, oxalis leaves, and some of the cold shiro dashi pickling liquid.

Elevate your spring bounty game and try your hand at Russell’s recipe in the comfort of your own kitchen.

(Photo courtesy of Oxalis.)
(Photo courtesy of Oxalis.)

White Asparagus with Maine Uni & Sunflower

Courtesy of Chef/Owner Nico Russell, Oxalis, Brooklyn


80 grams sunflower greens
40 grams spinach
150 grams grapeseed oil
2 liters filtered water
1 piece kombu, toasted
1 Spanish onion, burnt
1 head garlic
15 grams katsuobushi
200 grams white asparagus peels, charred
White soy sauce, to taste
White vinegar, to taste
1 tablespoon ascorbic acid
10 stalks white asparagus, peeled
3 pieces Maine uni
8 oxalis leaves


1. Make the sunflower green oil: Add the sunflower greens, spinach and grapeseed oil to a blender and blend on high for about 2 minutes. Add the mixture to a small pot and cook on high heat for about two minutes. Once cooked, strain through a cheesecloth and cool; reserve.

2. Make the shiro dashi: Over low heat, add the water, kombu, onion and garlic to a saucepot and infuse for an hour. Add katsuobushi and charred white asparagus peels and infuse for another hour. Strain through a fine mesh strainer and season to taste with white soy and vinegar. 

3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Right before the water boils, add the ascorbic acid. Additionally, prepare an ice bath and set aside. Blanch the asparagus for 90 seconds and immediately shock in the ice bath. Once cool, transfer asparagus to shiro dashi for up to 2 hours. After lightly marinated, cut asparagus into 3-by-1/2-inch spears; blowtorch, spray with white soy (in a spray bottle), and reserve.

4. In the bottom of a serving bowl, add the white asparagus spears and top with Maine uni and oxalis leaves. Finish with seasoned dashi (make sure it’s very cold) and sunflower green oil. Serve immediately.

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