White asparagus with Borderlaise sauce and girolles

  • Starter
  • medium
  • 4
  • 1 hour 30 minutes, plus 24 hours to pickle and 4 hours simmering time



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Pickled girolles

White asparagus

Bordelaise sauce

Confit shallot


First prepare the girolles as these take 24 hours to pickle. Lightly scrape off the outer layer of the girolles with a paring knife then plunge into cold water for a few seconds to remove any surplus dirt and grit. Leave to dry on a tea towel for 1 hour


While you wait, bring the sugar, honey and water to the boil, then remove from the heat and add the thyme. Leave to cool completely. Once cool, gently vacuum pack the girolles in the cooled pickling liquor and leave in the fridge for 24 hours (you could also simply submerge the girolles in the pickling liquor if you don't have a vacuum packing machine, but they will be less flavourful)


You can also make the asparagus braising liquor in advance as it needs 4 hours to simmer. Wash the kombu in cold running water to remove excess salt then place in a pan with the rest of the ingredients (apart from the bonito flakes and asparagus). Simmer gently for 4 hours – you want to infuse, not reduce, the liquid


After this time, remove from the heat and add the bonito flakes and leave to cool

  • 3g of bonito flakes

Set up a water bath at 90°C. Place the asparagus in a vacuum bag with 200ml of the braising liquor (the rest can be frozen for another use) and seal. Cook in the water bath for 10–14 minutes, depending on the width of the spears. It is ready when a stalk breaks when pressure is applied but isn't mushy. Place in an ice bath when ready then refrigerate until needed. Note: you could also gently cook the asparagus in a pan over a medium heat right before serving, trying to keep the braising liquor at 90°C, but timings may vary


To make the sauce, add a splash of oil to a large stock pot and, once hot, add the beef trimmings. Once browned, add the shallots, mushroom, peppercorns and herbs and cook until softened and very lightly browned


Add the port and red wine to the pan to deglaze, scraping the bottom of the pan. Bring back to a simmer – once the liquid has almost completely reduced, add the veal and chicken stock and simmer until reduced to a sauce consistency (approx. 1–2 hours). Pass through a fine sieve into a clean pan to reheat before serving


To make the confit shallots, add them to a pan and cover with the beef fat. Cook on a very low heat (it should never boil) until the shallot is soft (around 30 minutes). Pass through a fine sieve, then taste and season with salt


Now everything is ready you can begin to reheat the elements. Open the vacuum bag of asparagus and carefully pour into a wide pan along with the cooking liquor. Gently reheat


Bring the sauce to the boil, then add the confit shallots, bone marrow and parsley. Once the marrow has warmed through take off the heat


Add some neat spoonfuls of the sauce to the centre of each plate. Place two spears of asparagus to the side and sprinkle the pickled girolles over them. Serve immediately

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