White asparagus is the same plant as asparagus, but its shoots are banked with earth as soon as they appear, keeping them underground and preventing them from turning green. This way they remain blanched, except for the tips, which are tinged violet. The sweet white crab meat and nutty, slightly tart raw asparagus are complemented by the rich mayonnaise.
200g/7oz hand-picked fresh white crab meat (don't bother with pasteurised crab meat – its taste is very poor)
4 white asparagus stems
Juice of a lemon
1 tsp lemon zest
40ml/1 fl oz extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
For the lemon mayonnaise
3 egg yolks
tbsp Dijon mustard
Juice of 1 lemons
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
500ml/17fl oz of gentle extra-virgin olive oil, such as a Sicilian or Ligurian
1 tsp finely chopped curly parsley
Prepare the mayonnaise as per the previous recipe, adding the mustard to the mix at the start. This recipe uses far more oil as it is intended to make a far thicker, glossier mayonnaise that sticks to your spoon; I like it this way, but you can use a little less if you prefer it runnier.
Place the crab in a mixing bowl. Pick over to remove any shell. Wash and pat dry the asparagus. Slice finely on the bias, discarding the tough, woody end. Place in the bowl along with the crab, add the lemon juice, zest and olive oil and toss lightly to combine. Season with a good pinch of salt and a couple of grindings of black pepper.
Finish with the parsley and divide between four plates. Spoon over the mayonnaise, and serve with extra lemon.