Some Cheap And Brilliant Recipes To Make Asparagus Banging
The Debrief: It's like, totally the vegetable du jour. And in season. So it's cheap.
Asparagus is great, isn't it? Not only was it a superfood before everyone gave a damn what superfoods were (vitamins A, C, E and K thank you very much), it's also an anti-oxidant and has anti-aging properties. In short. Why aren't you eating more?
Plus, it's in season now, which means it's the cheapest it'll be all year. So, while you're pondering that, here's a few very excellent recipes to help you make the most of it. GO GO GO.
If you're feeling hungry...
Tagliatelle with Asparagus and Parmesan Fonduta
2 large egg yolks
350g crème fraîche
150g Parmesan cheese, finely grated, plus a bit more for finishing
1 medium garlic clove, finely grated
450g asparagus, woody bottoms snapped off, stalks cut on the diagonal into long 1-cm thick pieces, tips left whole
Fresh Egg Pasta, cut into tagliatelle
Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Meanwhile, bring a couple of centimetres of water to the boil in a small pot. Whisk together the egg yolks, crème fraîche, Parmesan, and garlic in a large heatproof bowl that will fit snugly in the pot without making contact with the boiling water.
Set the bowl in the small pot and whisk the egg mixture constantly, occasionally scraping the sides and removing the bowl from the pot every couple of minutes as you whisk to keep the cooking nice and slow (don’t let it bubble). The mixture will look thick and clumpy for a few seconds, then become liquidy, and then, once the cheese has melted, silky smooth. Cook just until the liquidy sauce has thickened slightly (it should thinly coat the back of a spoon), 6 to 8 minutes. Set the bowl aside in a warm place.
Salt the large pot of boiling water generously until it tastes slightly less salty than the sea. If you’re confident that the pasta and asparagus will finish cooking at the same time, add them both to the water. If you’re a worrywart, cook the asparagus first, scoop it into a colander to drain, then cook the pasta. Cook the asparagus until it is juicy with a slight bite, 3 to 4 minutes; and cook the pasta until it is fully cooked, 3 to 4 minutes.
Drain the pasta and asparagus well in a colander, then pop them back into the now-empty pot. Pour in most of the fonduta and toss gently but well. Season to taste with salt and more fonduta, if you’d like. Transfer to bowls, top with a little more Parmesan, and eat straightaway.
This recipe is from April Bloomfield's A Girl And Her Greens (Canongate, £25)
If you want to look fancy...
Asparagus with Charred Lemon Butter and Parmesan
400g asparagus spears
1 lemon, halved
15g unsalted butter
salt and freshly ground
Snap the woody bases from the asparagus spears, keeping only the tender tips. Heat a non-stick frying pan (skillet) or griddle pan until stinking hot. Brush the lemon halves with a little bit of olive oil and place cut-side down on the pan.
Cook for about 5 minutes, until the cut sides of the lemons are caramelised and charred, then set aside.
Melt the butter in the lemon pan. When cool enough to handle, squeeze in the charred lemon juice and stir to incorporate over the heat.
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and add the asparagus tips, cooking for 2 minutes, or until tender. Drain in a colander and toss them immediately into the lemon butter, over a very low heat. Divide between plates, season with
black pepper and grate over the Parmesan. Eat immediately, with your fingers.
This recipe is from Rosie Birkett's A Lot on her Plate (Hardie Grant, £25) Photography: Helen Cathcart
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At work? With your gran?
You might want to think about the fact you're about to read something that wouldn't exactly get a PG rating