White asparagus from Les Landes

with crustaceans sautéed à la minute and a Pharaoh spices mousseline 

The Asparagus from Les Landes remains white as it never sees the sun.

It grows under ground, and it is harvested before the tip of the asparagus comes out off the ground, unlike the green and purple asparagus, which fully grows from flat soil; photosynthesis giving them their green colour.

Harvesting the white asparagus is a subtle art, as you have to notice the little crack on the soil which announce the asparagus coming out.

Serves 6


To prepare the mousseline:

  • Squeeze the orange and lemon into a bowl and infuse them with the Pharaoh spices
  • Add the egg yolks and whisk the mousseline on a low fire, add the clarified butter, and mix continually.
  • When the mix is cold, season to taste and add the whipped cream. The mousseline should be as light as a Chantilly.

To prepare the court bouillon:

  • Chop the carrots, onions and leeks into small pieces
  • Pour the water and wine into a pan with the chopped vegetables, cloves, espelette pepper and coriander. Season with pepper.
  • Bring to the boil for 10 minutes. This will be used to cook the whelks. 

To prepare the crustaceans:

  • Cook the lobster for 5 minutes in boiling water, and take it out of its shell straight away after cooling it down. Split the tail into four slices.
  • Bring the court bouillon to the boil and place the whelks in the pan for 10 minutes. Once the whelks have cooled down, take them out of their shells.
  • Take the langoustines out of their shell, leaving only the last ring.
  • In a pan, melt the finely chopped shallots in 15g of duck fat, without discolouring them. Add the clams and razor clams and 100ml of dry white wine to the pan.
  • Meanwhile, in another pan, fry the langoustines in 25g of duck fat along with the round pieces of lobster (including their claws) and the diced cuttlefish. Season with salt and Espelette pepper.
  • Remove the seafood from both pans.
  • Add the liquid from the clam pan into the duck fat juices in the lobster pan and reduce, adding salted butter until the sauce is smooth.
  • Once the sauce is smooth, add all of the seafood (whelks, lobster, langoustines, clams, razor clams and cuttlefish) into the pan and coat in the sauce.

To prepare the asparagus:

  • Gently peel the asparagus and tie them up in bunch of 5-6 spears with a kitchen string
  • Cook the asparagus from 6 to 8 minutes in 6 litres of salted boiling water.
  • Once cooked and just before serving, roll them in 100ml of olive oil.

To serve:

  • Place the seafood and the asparagus onto a large plate 
  • Pour the mousseline over the top 
  • Garnish with chervil leaves


For the mousseline:

  • 1 orange
  • 1 lemon
  • 4g Pharaoh spices
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 70g clarified butter
  • 100ml whipped cream

For the crustaceans:

  • 600g of lobster
  • 6 langoustines
  • 500g whelks
  • 40g duck fat
  • 15g salted butter
  • 2 shallots
  • 12 clams
  • 6 razor clams
  • 100ml dry white wine

For the court bouillon:

  • 2 litres water
  • 37ml dry white white
  • 150g carrots
  • 150g onions
  • 150g leeks
  • 1 clove
  • Coriander
  • Espelette pepper

For the asparagus:

  • 30 medium-sized or 18 large white asparagus
  • 100ml olive oil

For the garnish:

  • Chervil leaves
Hélène Darroze’s recipes Hélène Darroze’s recipes