ANDyou have just a handful of weeks each year to enjoy asparagus at the peak of its season. Given the recent revelation that the humble vegetable is actually one of the biggest offenders when it comes to carbon emissions (thanks to flying it around the world out of season), you should make the most of it in April and May.
From Bettina Campolucci Bordi’s take on the popular Chinese dressing to Tommy Banks’ asparagus with roasted Jerusalem artichoke (also enjoying the peak of its season) and blue cheese, these recipes from the some of the country’s top chefs are a good place to start.
bang bang asparagus
1 large bunch of asparagus, blanched or quick steamed
¼ tsp Sichuan pepper
½ shallot, finely diced
½ chilli, thinly sliced
1 tbsp tamari
1 spring onion
1 tbsp sesame seeds
60ml rapeseed oil
Slice the blanched asparagus diagonally into bite size pieces and arrange on a nice salad dish.
Add the szechuan pepper, shallot, chilli to a heatproof bowl.
Heat up the oil in a pan and when very hot, carefully pour over the ingredients in the bowl, which will cook them. Add the tamari, stir to combine and then spoon or pour the warm dressing over the asparagus.
Finish with a sprinkle of spring onions and sesame seeds.
Asparagus with roasted Jerusalem artichoke and blue cheese
By: Tommy Banks, chef owner of The Black Swan, Roots and Made In Oldstead
prep time: 10 minutes | Cook time: 45 minutes
12 asparagus tips, dressed in oil
500g Jerusalem artichoke
2 tbsp oil
3 sprigs of rosemary
3 sprigs of thyme
50g pumpkin seeds
200g blue cheese
Preheat oven to 180C (160C Fan). Add butter and oil to baking tray and heat until foaming. Meanwhile, rinse and scrub artichokes to remove any dirt. Halve the small ones and quarter the bigger ones, coat everything with 2 tablespoon oil and season generously.
Carefully remove the pre-heated baking tray and add the artichoke, along with the thyme and rosemary.
Add butter and oil in a baking tray, roast until foaming and they carefully fold in the artichokes along with thyme and rosemary. Roast for 40 to 45 minutes until soft inside and crispy outside.
With 10 minutes remaining, pre-heat grill to 200C and grill your asparagus until the skin starts to blister, around 10 minutes, rotating halfway through. On a separate tray add your pumpkin seeds and roast in the oven.
To serve, place artichokes in a large bowl, evenly distribute asparagus, sprinkle pumpkin seeds and crumble blue cheese over to finish.
Potato pancakes with roasted asparagus and poached eggs
By: Tommy Banks
prep time: 10mins | Cook time: 15mins
12 asparagus spears, ends trimmed
400g mash potatoes
40g plain flour
1 large egg
1 tbsp oil
Small handful of chives, chopped, to garnish
In a medium-sized saucepan, bring a pan of water to a rolling boil. Add asparagus and white, for about 1 minute. Remove, drain and set aside. Preheat grill.
In a large bowl, combine mash, flour and egg and season generously with salt and pepper. Shape the potato mixture into pancakes, size depending on appetite, and set aside.
Meanwhile, combine asparagus with 1 tablespoon of oil and season with salt and pepper. Place under the grill for about five minutes, or until they begin to char, and blister.
Heat a large frying pan over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of oil and cook until golden, about two minutes each side.
To serve, place two warm pancakes into the center of your plate, topped with poached eggs and grilled asparagus and finish with a sprinkling of chives.
By: Lucy Carr-Ellison and Jemima Jones, co-founders of Wild by Tart
4 rashes of smoky pancetta, chopped (optional)
1 leek, finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, sliced
2 sticks rosemary, leaves chopped
1 fennel, thinly sliced
1 tbsp fennel seeds, basted
1 tsp dried chilli
1 glass white wine
500ml chicken stock (could also use veg stock)
Bunch of asparagus, chopped and woody ends discarded
Bunch wild garlic, washed and chopped
salt and pepper
Small bunch parsley, chopped
Small bunch mint, chopped
Place the pancetta in a pan over a medium heat with a glug of olive oil and leave to fry for a couple of minutes. Next add the leek, garlic and rosemary and sauté for 5 minutes. Follow by adding the fennel, fennel seeds and dried chilli, cook for a further 5 minutes until starting to caramelize.
Pour over the white wine and stock and simmer for about 5 minutes.
Add in the asparagus and wild garlic and season, cook for about 2 minutes then take off the heat and add the parsley and mint then serve.