Noma’s Grilled Asparagus and Tender Spruce

René Redzepi's Grilled Asparagus and Tender Spruce

Photograph by Ditte Isager

A Work in Progress: A Journal is a highly personal document of the creative processes at noma and the challenges faced by its chefs over a twelve-month period in an unspecified year of the restaurant’s history. After a month of vacation, world-famous chef René Redzepi made a resolution to keep a journal and to dedicate a year to the creativity and well-being at noma. The result is an unusually candid, and often humorous, insight into the inner workings of one of the food world’s most creative minds. 

René Redzepi is widely recognized as one of the world’s most influential chefs. After closing his world-renowned Copenhagen restaurant noma in 2017—where he created his inventive take on Nordic cuisine with a distinctive emphasis on regional specialties—he recently opened noma 2.0. Redzepi also established the not-for-profit MAD symposium in 2011 to galvanize the creative potential of the global cooking community.

A Work in Progress: A Journal by René Redzepi
A Work in Progress: A Journal by René Redzepi
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Grilled Asparagus and Tender Spruce

White asparagus

10g salt

10g chopped rosemary

8 large white asparagus spears, peeled and cut into 10cm lengths

30g grapeseed oil

pine twigs


Grilled Asparagus Sauce

20 large green asparagus spears

grape seed oil

45g spinach purée


5g pine vinegar

pine oil



spruce needles

pine branch tips

100g cream, lightly whipped


White Asparagus

Grind half the salt with the rosemary. Crush the remaining salt and mix through. Blanch the asparagus for 15 seconds, refresh in ice water and dry. Heat the oil and sauté the asparagus over high heat on one side only. Cover with the pine twigs and cook for 2 minutes.  Sprinkle the rosemary salt down the length of each asparagus.

Grilled Asparagus Sauce

Brush the asparagus with oil and chargrill (charbroil) on one side. Juice the asparagus, then strain and keep at room temperature.


Warm 4 plates. Put a pile of spruce needles on each plate. Add the roasted white asparagus. Warm the green asparagus sauce and thicken the spinach purée. Season with salt and pine vinegar and spilt the sauce with the pine oil. Pour the sauce in between the roasted white asparagus. Cover with the pine branch tips and serve with a quenelle of whipped cream.

Recipe reprinted with permission of Phaidon Press.


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