It’s a sure sign that summer is nigh when English asparagus starts to grace our shelves. It’s a welcome moment in my year, as it indicates a splurge of seasonal food availability. I’ve come up with as many recipes for kale as I can manage, and as much as I love it, I am ready to move on. Bring on the wild garlic, asparagus, purple sprouting broccoli, nettles and on and on.
The fresher the better, straight from the ground asparagus has a delicious sweetness and intensity of flavour, I ate some raw last year as it gave it’s death squeal on the tip of an allotmenteers knife. I’ve been making the most of the season so far, as I always do, and it’s graced many a brunch, lunch and dinner.
What to do with it? Simplicity is key. It’s fabulous steamed or fried and lightly salted and used as soldiers for soft gooey eggs. Yesterday morning I couldn’t resist adding another savoury note by wrapping each spear in the finest of parma ham, drizzling with olive oil and roasting with a sprinkle of smoked sea salt for 10 minutes at 180 degrees. I used them to probe and devour the softest and richest of egg yolks, from my favourite eggs – Old Cotswold Legbars from Clarence Court. I don’t know why some restaurants persist in importing their eggs from Italy for their golden yolks when these are beauifully gold, almost orange, and satisfyingly rich. It’s wonderful with tarragon, and mint gives it some life.
You might like to try the Asparagus & Truffle Carbonara that I made last year, dunk some in the softest of poached eggs or try Fregola Sarda with Asparagus, heirloom tomato and goat’s curd.
I’ll be back soon with more recipe ideas, now that I have a kitchen to cook in again. For now, do tell, what’s your favourite way of eating asparagus?