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Asparagus Season

Whether used as the star side of your roast dinner or as a vibrant addition to your favourite risotto dish, get set to embrace asparagus season with our cooking tips and recipe ideas

Spears of glory

Nothing signals the arrival of spring like homegrown asparagus. Our grower, John Chinn, uses pioneering methods at his Herefordshire farm, including cold-resistant polytunnels, to help the first green shoots of asparagus appear sooner for you to enjoy. 

Asparagus works in all sorts of dishes, from stir-fries to spring tarts. Why not give these easy recipe ideas a try?

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Pretty and purple

Violet hued and deliciously sweet – introducing our purple asparagus. To prepare, snap off and discard the woody ends, blanch quickly in boiling water and dress with butter and a squeeze of lemon. These spears are so tender they can be enjoyed raw as part of a fresh salad – simply shave with a vegetable peeler and season with parmesan, olive oil, salt and pepper. 

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Salmon and asparagus risotto

Serve up Chris Baber’s tasty risotto dish, packed full of zesty lemon flavour and vibrant asparagus. Top tip: you can swap the salmon for prawns and the asparagus for peas.  

Serves 4

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes

Olive oil
1 white onion, diced
4 garlic gloves, grated
400g risotto rice
125ml white wine
1 pack Cook with M&S salmon with lemon butter
2 veg stock cubes, making 1.5l stock
180g asparagus, chopped into 2cm chunks
70g parmesan, grated (optional)
40g flatleaf parsley, chopped
1 lemon, zested and juiced

Preheat the oven to 200°C/ 180°C fan/gas mark 6.

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a pan over a medium heat and cook the onion until sweet and translucent. Add the garlic and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Add the rice and coat in the onion garlic mixture, almost toasting the rice. Pour in the white wine and boil until the liquid evaporates.

Place the Cook with M&S salmon fillets in the oven and cook as per packet instructions.

Add the stock to the risotto gradually over the course of 20 minutes, stirring regularly. Add the asparagus spears and leave to cook for 2 minutes. Add additional water if needed.

Remove the salmon from the oven and flake the cooked salmon into the risotto, discarding the skin. Add the parmesan if desired, turn off the heat and gently stir.  

Garnish with black pepper, parsley, lemon zest and juice to serve.

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Cheat’s cheese and asparagus tart

Looking for a quick and tasty lunch idea? This easy tart uses ready-made puff pastry and our delicious cheddar cheese sauce (available in store) to create a beautifully simple spring dish.

Serves 4-6

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes

1 sheet puff pastry
½ tub M&S cheddar cheese sauce
13 asparagus spears
Small handful of watercress, to serve
Small handful of M&S micro-leaf salad, to serve
1 lemon, juiced
Fresh mint, to serve

Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas mark 6, and place a flat baking tray inside to preheat.

Roll out the pastry into a rectangle, then spoon over the cheese sauce, leaving a gap around the edges. Bake on the preheated baking sheet for 25 minutes, until golden and bubbling.

Cut the asparagus spears to remove their woody ends. Take the pastry out and lay the asparagus on top, then return to the oven for 4-5 minutes.

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Chef Chris Baber

Chris Baber's recipes

Looking for recipe inspiration? Try chef Chris Baber’s latest Cook with M&S recipes

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