Asparagus

That time when I came up with a cool recipe, cooked it, took photos and wrote a blog post but then our somewhat hectic lives got in the way and its been sat in the ether for about 8 weeks…. Asparagus season is now pretty much over but if you can get some of the last spears or save this recipe for next year, I swear its delicious.

A true sign that summer is on its way is when British Asparagus raises its spears out of the mounds of soil and into the shops of Britain in all its green and purple glory. My mum laughed at me when I called her a few weeks ago just before a visit home, when she asked me what I wanted to do for the weekend visit I had two requests – spend some in the garden in the sun and cook some Asparagus using her cask iron griddle pan. Both seem like perfectly reasonable requests to me for a girl trapped in a London flat with no garden and no space in her tiny kitchen for such specialist (not to mention heavy) equipment.

I love Jane Grigson, and I love her Fruit and Vegetable books – as you may have gathered but I have to say I do disagree with her on the best way to cook asparagus, she favours the boiling/steaming in an asparagus pan method. I could not disagree more, I feel like adding water to asparagus destroys all its delicate flavours – an exception could be made for the white thick spears that are preferred in most of Europe. I tend to fry my asparagus or even better if I have the equipment I cook it on a grille pan – all the flavour locked in with the delicious addition of charred lines along the outside.

Other than that I like to keep my asparagus simple, I do think it needs some fat with it to show it at its best – doused in herby butter, dipped in a soft boiled egg or maybe dressed with a nice vinaigrette as below.

You of course don’t need a griddle pan for the below recipe – it would work great on a bbq or if like me you are stuck in your flat a frying pan would work well too.

Asparagus with preserved lemon vinaigrette

  • A bunch of Asparagus
  • 1 small preserved lemon
  • 2 ½ tbsp. of rapeseed oil
  • 1 ½ tbsp. of white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp of suagr
  • Salt and pepper
  • Handful of chopped flat leaf parsley

Heat the griddle pan over a high heat until it’s smoking hot. Whilst the pan is heating up finely dice the preserved lemon, whisk into the oil, vinegar and sugar.

Use 1 tbsp of the oil to lightly coat the asparagus then lay them into the pan perpendicular to the griddles. After 3 mins turn over the spears, after another 3 mins the asparagus should be beautifully charred on each side and still with a little bite.

Take the spears straight out the pan and into a bowl with the vinaigrette so the warm asparagus really takes in the flavours.

Serve simply either on its own with some nice crusty bread or as a side so something that needs a little sharpness – perhaps some lamb.

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