Asparagus season is here! We’ve found 10 great ways to eat the vegetable, with top tips from some famous chefs…
Did you know that the correct way to eat asparagus is with your index finger and thumn? Debrett’s states that ‘unless asparagus is a vegetable accompaniment to a dish, or covered in sauce, it should be eaten with the fingers.’ Just something to bear in mind when you read all the wonderful ways to prepare asparagus below.
1. Asparagus and Quail Eggs Salad Recipe
- 3 Romaine heart lettuce, chopped
- 10 Green asparagus spears, sliced on an angle
- 150g Young broad beans, podded
- 150g Peas, podded
- 150g Fresh or frozen soy beans
- 2 Radish, raw thinly-sliced
- 8 Quail eggs, soft boiled
- 200g Parmesan shavings
- 100g Baby spinach
- 300ml extra virgin olive oil
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Drop in the green asparagus, add the broad beans, peas and soy beans and cook for a couple of minutes. Drain and run under cold water to stop them cooking but not to cool them.
- Whisk the extra virgin oil with a good amount of sea salt and black pepper
- Mix all of the vegetables with the romaine lettuce, baby spinach, radish and parmesan shavings and pour the dressing over.
- Divide between four plates. Slice the cooked quail eggs in half and place an equal portion on the top of each salad.
- Enjoy this salad with a crisp glass of white wine, such as Pinot Bianco.
2. An asparagus cocktail, anyone?
For something a little different why not try this recipe from Hutong for The Dragon Tail cocktail?
25ml Lemongrass and Ginger cordial
25ml Lemon Juice
2 Asparagus spears (one for decoration)
5ml total sesame seeds muddled with oyster sauce (for drink and decoration)
Method: Muddle one asparagus spear (covered with sesame seeds and oyster sauce), and add the rest of the ingredients. Then shake and double strain and serve in a martini glass. Garnish with the other spear on a skewer dipped in sesame seed and oyster sauce mix.
3. Tandoori Asparagus by Romy Gill
Bristol-based Indian chef Romy Gill marinates the vegetable in tandoori mix, garlic and ginger before pan-frying and serving with tamarind chutney – the asparagus retains a lovely crunch and bold flavour.
Here’s the recipe:
12 British Asparagus
1tsp ginger grated
1tsp garlic grated
1tsp red chilli flakes
1tsp tandoori mix (blend of different spices available in the supermarkets )
½ juice of lemon
Salt to taste
3 tsp rapeseed to pan fry
1. Marinate the asparagus along with all the ingredients, salt except the oil.
2. Keep the marinated in the fridge for half an hour before cooking the marinated asparagus.
3. Heat oil in a non-stick frying pan, once the oil is hot add the oil. Add 6 Asparagus at once time cook 4 minutes cooking evenly all sides.
4. Repeat with the rest. Serve with Salmon or just eat as starter with tamarind chutney.
4. Grilled Asparagus
Bring out a lovely smokey flavour to the spring time vegetable by grilling. Ben Tish at Dehesa loves to serve asparagus having cooked it on a griddle/bbq, so that it retains bite and goes all peppery. Tish also likes to slowly cook the stems in foaming butter with shallots and capers. Really delicious. It’s on his breakfast menu as ‘Grilled Asparagus on Toast with Poached Eggs and Torta de Barros’.
6. Asparagus by Tom Aikens
Tom Aikens, founder of the Tom’s Kitchen restaurants, suggests you serve yours with egg and watercress.
1. To prepare the asparagus the base needs to be broken from where it goes from woody to tender, this can be snapped off and then any tough peel can be removed with a peeler, once this has been done then you can take the little ears off the top of the asparagus.
2. These can then be either cooked till tender in boiling salted water just for 2-3 mins and either be served hot or cold by refreshing them in cold iced water to stop the cooking process. After this they can then be roasted in a little butter, with some herbs like marjoram & thyme.
3. In the same butter cook some sour dough bread crumbs till crispy, serve onto the plate and then sprinkle the herb crumbs, once golden and crisp, over the top.
6. White Asparagus, the German Gymnasium way
The Executive chef at German Gymnasium, Bjoern Wassmuth, tells us how to cook the special German ingredient perfectly:
1. Put salt, sugar, butter and a slice of white bread in a large pot filled with water.
2. Bring the water to a boil.
3. Once water is boiling, put white asparagus in the pot, turn the heat off and leave them to sit in the hot water for 10 – 15 minutes. Salt, butter and sugar are there to enhance the natural flavour whereas white bread removes the bitterness.
4. Serve with home-made hollandaise sauce, with a side of Schnitzel and new potatoes.
7. Pickled Asparagus
Pickling is the new courgetti. Try preserving asparagus to make it last all-year-long. Who needs gherkins anyway?
8. Asparagus by Aiden Byrne
Byrne tells us…
We serve asparagus in Manchester House and also at my pub, The Church Green, in two different ways. In the restaurant we serve it simply blanched with hand-dived scallops and a caviar sauce. I blanch it in as much boiling water as I can in order to retain the green and shock the asparagus into retaining as much of its goodness as possible.
In my pub we cut it in half length ways and chargrill it over a coal BBQ with a little extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. We serve it with poached egg, cured ham and hollandaise sauce.
9. Asparagus by Sea Containers at the Mondrian Hotel
Chef Gus Crosby tells us how to serve asparagus his favourite way…
Arbequina olive oil
Cracked black pepper
1. Blanche in salted water on a high heat for 1 mins.
2. Add asparagus spears to a bowl of ice cold water.
3. Strain asparagus.
4. Add a healthy coating of olive oil and a pinch of sea salt.
5. Add asparagus to the grill on high heat until charred evenly (1 mins each side).
6. Add a pinch of cracked black pepper, a squeeze of lemon juice and a touch of lemon zest.
*served perfectly with a duck egg on top with a dash of truffle oil
10. White Asparagus Ice Cream, also by German Gymnasium
This is bound to divide the crowd… Executive chef at German Gymnasium, Bjoern Wassmuth, shares his recipe with us:
1. Start off with 25g flour and 25g butter. Melt the butter in a pot and add the flour.
2. Add 1000g milk, 150g cream, 290g sugar, 40g honey, 70g low fat milk powder and 5g salt. Mix all together and bring to boil.
3. Peel 400g white asparagus and cut off the woody ends. Cut into small pieces and add to the other ingredients. Let this simmer until it is soft for approx. 15-20min.
4. Blend all ingredients in a mixer until smooth and add 65g egg yolk
5. Take the liquid, strain it and pour into an ice cream machine. At approx. 0 degrees, add the juice of half a lemon. This will help to get a nice creamy ice cream. Continue to freeze in the machine until you reach the ideal texture.
6. Serve with fresh strawberries. Sweeten with sugar to taste and drizzle with Grand Marnier. Garnish with fresh lemon balm and mint.
And Gordon Ramsay likes his with an aioli and crushed nuts…