Recipe of the month: Kentish asparagus
PUBLISHED: 14:58 23 April 2016 | UPDATED: 14:58 23 April 2016
The chef-patron of our winner of Restaurant of the Year 2015, Chapter One is revelling in new-season asparagus
It’s British asparagus season – definitely one of my highlights in the foodie calendar. I always look forward to receiving the first box of asparagus at Chapter One.
The season is very short, running from April until the end of June, although it can appear to start much earlier. But be warned, this is generally forced asparagus where the farms cover and heat the ground artificially. I’ve seen it harvested as early as late February into March.
In my humble opinion, asparagus should only be eaten in season (April-June). We’re all used to seeing various types of fruits and vegetables available to buy all year round, but I’m a firm believer in buying ingredients when they are at their prime, and that’s in season.
Major supermarkets across the country sell asparagus throughout the year imported from South America from places such as Peru. The foreign variety may be cheaper, but nothing compares to the flavour of British asparagus. I would definitely encourage you to support our British asparagus farmers. At Chapter One we use Watts Farm in Orpington because of its quality and consistency.
Asparagus without question is one of my favourite vegetables; not only do I love the taste, but it’s also simple to prepare, plus it’s versatile and pretty much goes 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 in May.
This month’s recipe is my warm poached hen’s egg with English asparagus, truffles, Parmesan and soft herbs. Enjoy!
Serves four people
2 bunches asparagus
50ml white wine vinegar
4 duck eggs
Mini cornichons (pickled cucumber), sliced
20g black truffle (sliced)
Snap the bottom 0.5 inch off the asparagus, blanch in boiling salted water for three minutes and refresh in iced water. Drain and put aside. Leave four pieces of asparagus raw and set aside.
Boil a pan of water with the white wine vinegar and a pinch of salt. Carefully crack each egg into a small bowl. Stir the boiling water and tip each egg into the water and cook for three minutes. Then with a slotted spoon carefully lift the eggs out and place them into iced water. Leave to cool. Next shave the parmesan with a potato peeler and put to one side.
To serve, rub the asparagus gently with olive oil and place on a pre-heated chargrill and colour lightly. Remove from the chargrill and put equal amounts of asparagus on four plates.
Re-heat the poached egg in boiling water for a minute and place on top of the asparagus. Sprinkle with some sliced cornichons, picked chervil, parmesan shavings and truffle.
Season with rock salt, pepper and drizzle some olive oil and lemon juice over the salad.
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Chapter One, Farnborough Common, Locksbottom BR6 8NF
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Next month: Andy shares his recipe for one of Chapter One’s most popular desserts, hot chocolate fondant with vanilla ice-cream.