White Asparagus Ribbons: A Symphony of Zesty Lemon, Fragrant Vanilla Foam, and Succulent Scallops!


As white asparagus season graces our culinary calendar, it brings forth an elegant vegetable, cultivated underground for its pale allure, mild nutty taste, and tender embrace. Its fleeting appearance, limited to late spring and early summer, adds a touch of magic to the kitchen, making it a coveted choice for those who savor its subtle charm. Chefs and home cooks alike embrace this seasonal gem, allowing it a humble role that symbolizes the transient beauty of nature’s bounty.

In this inspired recipe, I take an unconventional approach, transforming white asparagus into ribbons. A simple pour of boiling pasta water delicately cooks these fine strands to al dente perfection, creating a dish that not only captivates the taste buds but also celebrates the ephemeral dance of flavors.

Consider forgoing the noodles for a low-carb option, revealing the asparagus’s pure essence. The combination of pasta and asparagus offers a symphony of textures. The fine ribbons, almost invisible, elegantly embrace the tagliatelle, imparting a wonderfully fresh crunch.

To elevate this creation to a luxurious summer delight, I paired it with seared scallops. The nutty undertones of the white asparagus harmonize with the rich flavors of the scallops, turning this dish into a seasonal celebration.

Asparagus Ribbons with Zesty Lemon-Vanilla Foam and Seared Scallops

Total Time 1 hour
Course Main Course
Servings 4


  • Peeler
  • Chopping knife and board
  • Large cooking pot
  • Frying pan
  • 2 Saucepans
  • Fine sieve
  • Colander
  • Tall container for blender
  • Blender


  • 500 g White asparagus
  • 250 g Tagliatelle
  • 1 Shallot
  • 1 Preserved lemon alt. organic lemon
  • 200 ml Noilly-Prat
  • 250 ml Heavy cream
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 3-4 sprigs Fresh Thyme
  • 1 Vanilla pod
  • 1 pinch Sugar
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 12 Fresh scallops


  • Prep:
    Peel and trim the asparagus, use the peeler to shave the asparagus into thin ribbons lengthwise. Set aside.
    Finely chop shallots and garlic.
    Wash the preserved lemon under cold water, cut in half, remove the flesh with a spoon, and finely dice the peel.
    Wash the thyme.
    Heat large pot of water to cook the pasta.
  • Sauce:
    In a saucepan, heat a small amount of olive oil, add lemon thyme, garlic, and shallot, sauté until translucent.
    Deglaze with Noilly-Prat, add diced lemon, season gently with crushed black pepper. If you don't have preserved lemon, you can substitute with the zest of an organic lemon. Gently let the base simmer and reduce by half.
    Pour the reduced mixture through a fine sieve into the clean saucepan, discard all solid components. Pour in the cream, reduce the heat to a very gentle simmer.
    Cut the vanilla pod lengthwise, scrape out the seeds with the back of a knife, and stir the vanilla seeds into the sauce.
    Season to taste the sauce with salt, sugar, and, if needed, a little more Noilly-Prat.
  • Scallops:
    Heat a splash oil in a frying pan until hot, add the second crushed garlic clove to infuse the oil. Sear the scallops on both sides for about 2 minutes each, until golden.
    Remove the pan from the heat, allowing the scallops to finish cooking in the residual heat – they should remain slightly translucent inside. Season with salt.
  • Pasta:
    Cook the tagliatelle al dente according to the package instructions.
    In the meanwhile, take about three ladles of boiling pasta water and pour it over the asparagus ribbons, letting them steep for a few minutes.
    Drain the pasta and return it to the pot, drain the asparagus ribbons.
  • Final touches:
    Transfer half of the sauce to a tall container.
    Place the asparagus ribbons in the remaining half of the sauce, gently fold them in.
    Use a hand blender to froth up the sauce in the container.
  • Plating:
    Plate the pasta, distribute the asparagus ribbons and sauce on top. Place the scallops on the noodles and top with the sauce foam.
    Garnish with thyme leaves.
    Serve immediately!

Low in calories and fat, white asparagus is a natural source of essential vitamins, including vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin K. It also provides a modest amount of dietary fiber, contributing to digestive health. Rich in antioxidants, white asparagus supports the body’s natural defense mechanisms. Additionally, it contains essential minerals such as potassium and folate, playing a role in maintaining overall well-being.

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