Asparagus is one of my favourite vegetables and each year from August onwards I can’t wait for the first of it to appear in our market. It’s a great vegetable to make the feature of a simple but delicious meal.
To prepare the asparagus I snap the ends of the stalks to get rid of the stringy ends. They seem to snap at the right spot.
I cook mine in an asparagus steamer which means only the bottoms are in a little water. I like my asparagus to be slightly crunchy and still a bright green colour. The cooking time will depend on whether you’ve chosen skinny or fat asparagus.
These are some of my favourite ways to enjoy fresh new season’s asparagus
Ingredients and Method
– With poached egg and parmigiano reggiano
Cook your asparagus, drain and place a few stalks on a warm plate. Poach an egg, put that on top of the asparagus and sprinkle all with freshly grated parmigiano reggiano. Drizzle with top quality extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar or fresh lemon juice. Season. Alternatively make a simple viniagrette and drizzle everything with that. Serve with plenty of fresh bread. Sometimes, to make this into a salad to accompany other dishes, I hard boil the eggs and then chop them up finely and mix them with the grated parmesan. I heap this mixture acrosss the middle of the asparagus and drizzle over the viniagrette.
– With smoked salmon, poached egg and aoili.
Cook as above. To serve, place a few asparagus on a plate, top with a piece of hot smoked salmon, the poached egg then a spoonful of aoili and freshly ground black pepper. Sometimes I also top all that with a spoonful of lumpfish roe.
– Very simply with a little melted butter and a squeeze of lemon juice, salt and pepper.
– In tempura batter – buy a packet of Japanese tempura batter mix from the supermarket. Make up as instructed. Heat a reasonable depth of canola oil in a frying pan. Dip each asparagus stalk in the batter and put in the hot oil. Cook till crispy. The batter will be only slightly coloured. Drain on paper towels and then eat immediately. Dip into soy sauce or tempura sauce. If you want to make a meal of it, also do a selection of other sliced vegetables (eg kumara, onion slices, mushrooms) and pieces of fish or prawns.