Asparagus Green, 250g
Lovely fresh green Asparagus from Spain.
Asparagus is an incredibly delicious perennial vegetable. The young shoots are harvested each spring and then the fern-like vegetable is allowed to grow and go through it's natural seasonal cycle, before dying back then re-appearing the following spring. We should all be eating more perennial vegetables as they are some of the most environmentally friendly crops. Perennial vegetables require far less watering and are soil builders. Apart from their obvious ecological advantages, asparagus is highly prized for its delicate flavour and it is also an excellent source of vitamin K and folate.
The ends quickly dry out and start to go woody once harvested so treat them a little like cut flowers. Stand them upright in a tub of water and keep them fresh in the fridge until you want to cook them. Then carefully snap the woody ends off - usually just an inch or so - before cooking them. You can freeze these ends to go in a vegetable stock or put them in the compost.
- Snap off the woody ends and toss the tender spears with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Then fry in a hot griddle pan or roast in a hot oven for just 5 minutes or so (with an optional squeeze of lemon to steam the spears as they cook). The stalks should be lightly charred on the outside, bright green and tender but still with some bite. Serve with boiled and buttered new potatoes and a protein of your choice.
- Simply steam for 5-10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the spears, and dress with melted butter as a side.
- Place the raw spears in quiches, frittatas, tarts and pies - they will over-cook in the oven if you pre-cook them first.
- Thinly shave with a potato peeler and eat them raw in a salad - dress simply with extra virgin olive oil and fresh lemon juice.
- Add to a spring risotto or pasta with peas, broad beans, leeks, lemon, garlic and olive oil.
- Make a vibrant green soup by simmering the stalks with sautéed onion, garlic and stock. Add peas or spinach just before blending. Top with sautéed asparagus tips.