Flavours of Spring; Asparagus

recipes to warm the soul

We’re feeling a little sad. It’s almost time to say goodbye to one of the season's biggest highlights. No, not the passing of the royal wedding spectacle or the memory of how the internet used to be before GDPR— we’re afraid it is something a bit more depressing; the final weeks of asparagus season. 

Soon the farmer’s markets will move on to runner beans, courgettes, and Swiss chard like asparagus never happened, like the lovely long stalks were just a passing house guest whose visit came to an end.

But we are hanging on, getting creative, trying new methods and imaginative ways to celebrate one of our favourite flavours of Spring while the getting is still good.  And of course, extending the season of any of our favourite foods is always possible with the use of the freezer.

The thing we really love about asparagus is its versatility. Sure, it’s fantastic raw but it also holds up well to all sorts of heat. It’s delicious roasted, grilled, sautéed, or poached. It makes the most incredible soup. It’s an earthy and crunchy addition to salads, pasta, and pizzas. And asparagus is always welcome alongside your favourite dishes- noble and proud accompanied by a Roast Rack of Lamb, a sizzling Minute Steak, or alongside our Black-Eyed Bean Burgers.

Best of all, asparagus works so well with other flavours. Cheese, nuts, citrus, garlic, ginger, all kinds of herbs—you really can’t go wrong.

Here are a few quick ideas for our favourite Spring vegetable; Asparagus.

 

Shaved asparagus salad with blue cheese, flaked almonds & prosciutto

Asparagus with blue cheese & almonds

  1. Remove woody stems and wash asparagus. Shave the asparagus lengthwise, from top to bottom, and drop into a water bath half-full of ice.
  1. Remove asparagus and let dry on kitchen roll.
  1. Once dry, pile shaved asparagus onto plates.
  1. Crumble over the blue cheese & top with flaked almonds.
  1. Tear strips of prosciutto and scatter onto the salad
  1. Finish by drizzling a flavorful & fruity extra virgin olive oil over the top. Serve with lemon wedge.  Serve with Black-Eyed Bean Burgers

Asparagus in brown butter with toasted pine nuts & flaked sea salt

 Asparagus in brown butter with pinenuts

  1. At a 45° angle, cut the asparagus diagonally into pieces about 3-4 cm long.
  1. Bring a saucepan of heavily salted water to the boil. Drop the asparagus into the boiling water for 10-12 seconds or until the colour deeply intensifies to a vibrant green. Drain and drop into a water bath half-filled with ice to stop the cooking process.
  1. In a pan over medium-low heat, melt a large knob of butter (about 50-75g) until it starts to foam and turns to beautiful toasty brown. It’s easy to burn so this step takes constant attention. You’ll know it’s finished when it gives off a nutty aroma.
  1. Drain butter into a cool bowl through a coffee filter (or fine sieve or muslin) to catch the solids.
  1. While the butter is straining, heat a separate pan over med heat and add the pine nuts, move them every so often with a wooden spoon. The nuts are finished when they have a bit of colour on each side and smell toasted. Set aside to cool.
  1. Pour the strained brown butter into a pan over medium heat. Add the asparagus and toss to coat. Sautee for 3-4 minutes or until they start to get a bit of colour.
  1. Add pine nuts and toss.
  1. Using a slotted spoon, remove asparagus and pine nuts to a plate. Top with a pinch of flaked sea salt and serve warm with a lemon wedge. A great side dish for serving with our Fish Pie

 

Bacon wrapped asparagus with fried egg yolk

 Bacon wrapped asparagus with fried egg yolks

  1. Discard the woody stems, wash & dry.
  1. Cut strips of streaky smoked bacon in half and wrap it tightly around the lower portion of the asparagus. Place seam side down on baking tray. Repeat.
  1. Roast the bacon wrapped asparagus in the oven (200°C fan) until the bacon is crispy.
  1. While the bacon is cooking, heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat and crack an egg into the hot oil. When the whites are set, remove from the pan onto a cutting board.
  1. Using a ring mould, or a sharp knife, cut the yolk from the whites and set aside. This is just for presentation – feel free to keep your eggs whole.
  1. Remove asparagus from the oven and arrange on a plate, add the fried yolk. Enjoy dipping the bacon wrapped asparagus into the egg yolk – delicious. Serve alongside Minute Steaks