Traders Hotel Kuala Lumpur,
Kuala Lumpur City Centre, Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 03-2332 9910
Business hours: 11.30am to 2.30pm (Monday to Friday),
6.30pm to 10.30pm, daily.
THE dawn of spring in countries blessed with the four seasons, brings about excitement among cooks as the white asparagus makes an appearance for a brief spell at marketplaces.
To manage white asparagus, farmers cover the shoots with soil as they grow, depriving them of sunlight and as there is no photosynthesis, they remain white in colour.
The white spears have a milder asparagus taste but are said to be rich in vitamin A, C, E and K and are packed with antioxidants.
Unlike its green-skinned cousin which is available throughout the year, the white asparagus is a delicacy in Europe and its limited availability makes it a much sought after ingredient.
Though uncommon in this part of the world, it is a versatile vegetable that can be prepared in a variety of cooking styles, said Traders Hotel Kuala Lumpur sous chef Melvin Brandon Chong.
Chong who has been dealing with a whole load of white asparagus recently, has come up with six creative dishes featured in an ala carte menu at Gobo Upstairs.
?White asparagus can be cooked in any style, be it Western or local.
?One just needs to be creative and imaginative in using the ingredient,? he said.
In an adventure of tastes with the vegetable, chef Brandon served for starters Grilled Asparagus with Smoked Salmon, Balsamic Orange, Baby Romaine Leaves, Croutons and Truffle Vinaigrette (RM35) and Roasted Asparagus with Poached Egg, Parmesan Cheese and Hollandaise Sauce (RM35).
The combination of smoked salmon, with its delicate salted taste against the citrus and balsamic flavours and crunchy grilled asparagus was a medley that worked, especially with the truffle vinaigrette completing the presentation.
The second starter was reminiscent of breakfast as chef Chong chose to incorporate a dish, paying tribute to legendary chef of the 1800s Auguste Escoffier, who invented this classic favourite.
?This is the most classic dish invented by Escoffier and it brings back sweet memories of my early days as a chef,? he said.
It is best to work your fork and knife into the poached egg as soon as the dish is served, to allow the yolk to run out of its pocket and enhance flavours of the other ingredients on your plate.
The green asparagus is invited to the party in the Asparagus Soup with Saut