I love asparagus and we have it nearly every day while it’s in season. I might even try pickling some!! From now on Jason will have plenty of medium sized asparagus and every week or two the girls at Fresh Gardens will have their skinny asparagus. I always buy both. It’s so easy to make something quick and delicious if you have asparagus on hand – simply steamed and topped with a poached egg and plenty of freshly ground black pepper, or richer with the addition of hollandaise sauce; roasted in a little olive oil and drizzled with good quality balsamic vinegar; steamed and served with miso butter or topped with a finely chopped hardboiled egg and grated parmesan……I could go on. Our chefs are also including asparagus in their dishes. Sarah made delicious danishes on Sunday. They were filled with asparagus, Parma ham, artichoke purée and Tallegio cheese.
I also include asparagus in other dishes. Using what I’d bought home from the market last weekend – a rotisserie chicken and a piece of fresh Ora King salmon – I made the following recipes:
Ingredients (serves 2-3)
Cooked chicken breast, skin removed and sliced
1-2 bunches asparagus, ends snapped
½ cup of freekah or any other whole grain such as farro, coarse bulgar wheat, brown rice, cooked as per packet instructions
Handful of snow peas, blanched, refreshed and dried
2-3 radishes, finely sliced
1-2 red chillis finely sliced (optional)
Bunch of coriander, finely chopped
Mint leaves, finely chopped
A few roasted roughly chopped roasted hazelnuts (or any other nut)
Dressing (you’ll probably have some leftover)
1 large shallot, peeled and finely chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and grated
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1tbsp runny honey
2 tbsps mirin
100-125ml oil (mix olive oil and a neutral oil)
2 tsps roasted sesame oil
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
Juice and zest of 2 limes
Good pinch of cayenne pepper or Japanese nanami togarashi (7 spice chilli pepper available in most supermarkets)
Cut the asparagus in half and place the pieces on a baking tray, drizzle with a little oil and season. Bake in a preheated moderate oven for about 10 minutes.
Whisk together all the dressing ingredients and set aside while you assemble the salad. The dressing needs to taste quite strong as it will seem mild once mixed with all the rest of the ingredients. Once the freekah is cooked mix in a couple of tablespoons of the dressing while the grains are still warm.
In a bowl mix together the freekah, most of the herbs, the snow peas, radishes and most of the asparagus and chilli and more of the dressing. Tip onto a large platter, add the sliced chicken, rest of the asparagus, chilli if using, rest of the herbs and hazelnuts. Drizzle with dressing and serve. A meal in one dish!!