17 May 2010

In Season - British Asparagus

Be quick! You've not got long to enjoy this superfood delicacy. Asparagus has a teasingly short and notoriously unpredictable season which falls sometime between May and June depending on the fickle British weather. I am reliably informed by the British Asparagus Growers Association website that the 2010 season is well and truly here.

Appropriately perhaps for an aphrodisiac, the key to ensuring the best flavour is tenderness rather than length or girth. Colour is a good indicator, seek light green with closed tips and a hint of purple. British Asparagus is a hand grown crop which requires a huge investment of time and patience for a relatively low yield. Cooking it however, is almost totally the opposite case!

 - Simple: Steamed with a splash of olive oil, black pepper and parmesan
 - Hot: Fresh asparagus soup with crème fraiche and sage and parmesan bread
 - Brunch: Asparagus bundles tied with chives served with a vanilla and pomegranate mayonnaise
 - Fish: Asparagus icecream with salmon toasts - recipe here!
 - Main: Pan roast asparagus with rare roast beef, wild mushroom jus, thyme and talegio potatoes
 - Summer Buffet: Prosciutto or Parma ham involtini of chargrilled asparagus
 - Stuffed: Baby Pousin with fresh asparagus stuffing, lemon risotto, French beans and tarragon jus
 - Vegetarian: Fresh handmade asparagus ravioli with herb emulsion and micro shoots

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