We’re fans of a passionate food blog called Lardersaga – filled with delicious musings and recipes. This week they’re enjoying British Asparagus. They started picking in the Wye valley 2 weeks ago and the cold weather has slowed down growth, but hopefully this will actually prolong what is in reality a very short season – only 8 weeks in total.
You can google all the health benefits that this clever little spear holds – Vitamin A and folic acid being the 2 most obvious – that aside it is super versatile, pretty and quite delicious. Steam it, blanche it, chargrill it, roast it – there are endless ways to cook it. As a starter, main, salad or even a canapé it is hard to go wrong – may be because it is only around for such a short time it tastes better – importantly just don’t over do – it always tastes better with a bit of bite. To see more of Joanna’s delicious recipes and ideas click Lardersaga
Asparagus Salad with podded broad beans, pancetta and a poached duck egg
Serves 4 as a starter and 2 as a main
1 bunch of English asparagus
4 duck eggs
100gs of double podded broad beans
100gs of fine cooked green beans
8 slices of thick pancetta or smoked streaky bacon
2 handfuls of washed rocket
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh tarragon
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
1teaspoon of honey
Whizz the honey with the mustard and then slowly add the oil, followed by the vinegar, herbs and a pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper – add a little water if the dressing is too thick.
- Put a pan of water on to boil with a steamer attachment. Prepare the asparagus by breaking the spears and taking off the course, tough ends. When the water is boiling – pop the asparagus in the steamer and steam for a few minutes (with lid on) and then test with a sharp knife. I was astonished how little time asparagus needs. Pull off the steamer and leave to cool down – but keep the water in the pan for the poached eggs.
- Meanwhile slice the pancetta into matchsticks and cook off gently in a frying pan till golden.
- Toss the rocket , fine beans and broad beans together, now scatter the pancetta on top – followed by the asparagus (I leave some whole and slice some in half – it looks prettier) .
- Last of all poach the duck eggs – this is a skill left to my husband and everyone will have their own method! Duck eggs take a little longer than normal chicken eggs- they are bigger in size and richer in taste!
- Now dress with the tarragon dressing.
In addition you could add shavings of pecorino or parmesan, you could omit some of the ingredients, or possibly exchange the pancetta for parma ham. Alternatively just serve with lashings of butter and salt and pepper. There is no right or wrong combination – importantly just make the most of the asparagus, the official season for picking started on St Georges Day (23rd April) – so time is ticking!