Recipe of the month: chargrilled asparagus
PUBLISHED: 12:34 02 May 2015 | UPDATED: 12:34 02 May 2015
Kent Life's Chef of the Year Andy McLeish makes the most of the British asparagus season with this simple but delicious classic
The British asparagus season is short and typically runs from 23 April to 21 June, although it can vary depending on the weather.
I actually look forward to receiving my first box of asparagus at Chapter One; to me it’s one of the first signs that spring has finally arrived.
Asparagus is one of my favourite vegetables, it’s so simple to prepare and so versatile that it can pretty much go with anything. I like asparagus raw, thinly sliced with a little honey and lemon dressing in a salad, or steamed with poached eggs and hollandaise for brunch or even grilled on a barbecue if we are lucky enough to have the weather for it.
I know we’re used to getting all types of food all year round, but I am a firm believer in buying ingredients when it’s in season.
If you go to your local supermarket, you’ll see asparagus throughout the year, typically from South American counties such as Peru.
To be honest, nothing compares to the flavour of British asparagus and it’s why you will never see me use it in my restaurant outside of the season.
The foreign variety may be cheaper but if you can, try to support our British asparagus farmers. I get mine from Watts Farm in Orpington. I only use Watts Farm asparagus because of its fantastic quality.
Actually, I asked them to grow it for me at Chapter One a number of years ago. I really enjoy taking my chefs to see it growing to let them see how fresh it is when we get it.
This month’s recipe is my chargrilled Kentish asparagus served with a soft-boiled duck egg, pecorino and asparagus shavings.
It’s simple, tasty and perfect on a spring’s day. Enjoy!
Chargrilled Kentish asparagus
Serves four people
2 bunches of asparagus
4 duck eggs
Snap the bottom (half an inch) off the asparagus, blanch in boiling salted water for three minutes and then cool in iced water, this will stop the asparagus from cooking any further. Drain and put aside. Leave four pieces of asparagus raw and set aside also.
Boil the duck eggs in salted water for four minutes, and then run under cold water until the egg has completely cooled. Carefully peel the egg, leaving it whole.
Next, rub the asparagus gently with olive oil and place on a preheated griddle pan and colour lightly.
Remove from the pan and put equal amounts of asparagus on four plates. Take the four pieces of raw asparagus and slice them thinly; I find it’s easiest to use a potato peeler.
Toss the peeled asparagus strips in a little lemon juice and olive oil and season with salt and pepper, and then place on the plate beside the asparagus.
Cut the duck egg in half, place on the asparagus and season with rock salt and pepper. To finish, top with the pecorino shavings.