The British Asparagus season is drawing to a triumphant end. And what a season it’s been. In supermarkets, farm shops and grocers we seem to have been overrun with tender green spears of this most wonderful vegetable. And I, for one, have been making the most of it.
Asparagus is polarising. You either love it or you don’t. It’s texture and taste is unlike any other veg I can think of. Obviously, I’m in camp love. Steamed, boiled, BBQ’d, grilled or roasted, it’s one of those stunning side dishes that more often than not takes centre stage on my plate.
And we should be proud of our yearly British yield, supporting local growers around the country. Each spear is a labour of love. Harvested from the soil by hand when it reaches the exact height by fantastic farmers and local producers who care about the quality of each and every crop.
I don’t need much of an excuse to use it as an ingredient, yet while asparagus is delicious, it’s also good for you too. Bursting with Vitamin C that boosts the immune system and acting as a mild diuretic which detoxifies the body. Hurrah! I’ll have two servings then.
There are hundreds of superb recipes that star succulent asparagus. Replace the toast and use them as soldiers with boiled or poached eggs. Slice them into a risotto with garden peas for a taste of spring. Roast them in the oven and dip the spears into a hollandaise sauce. Tempura them. Add them as a topping for pizza or quiche. They’re so incredibly versatile. (Always buy them as fresh as can be, store them in the fridge and snap off the woody ends before cooking.)
One of my very favourite dishes for asparagus has to be with saffron and tagliatelle. Quick to prepare and impressive enough for entertaining friends. It’s perfect on a summer evening with a chilled glass of white wine. Yum.
Asparagus and Saffron Tagliatelle
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- Sweat off the onion, garlic, thyme, spring onion and asparagus.
- When the asparagus is cooked add saffron, cream, tomato and vegetable stock.
- Cook to reduce the sauce.
- Add parsley and chives.
- Cook the pasta in salted boiling water until al dente.
- Drain and stir into the sauce.
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