Try something new with this time of year's iconic British ingredient. We've thought up some tasty ideas that celebrate the delicate flavour of a true spring classic: grass-green asparagus
Along with queuing and roast beef, asparagus is simply one of the things we Brits do best. In April, the British asparagus season is really getting into gear, so now is the perfect time to pick up a bunch. Look for firm, green spears with tight, crisp tips, and don’t worry about the difference in size – asparagus stems are cut individually by hand, so there’s always a range of lengths and thicknesses. As a general rule, thinner spears tend to be younger and fresher in flavour, while thicker ones that have been left to grow for longer have a more intense taste.
Our asparagus comes from a farm in Herefordshire’s Wye Valley, sheltered from wind and rain by the Brecon Beacons and Black Mountains of Wales, which is lucky, as grower Chris Chinn explains: "It’s often said that if it wasn’t for the weather, farming would be fun! But we’re lucky to be in such a sheltered spot and our asparagus thrives on the south-facing hills where it gets the early sun."
We love our asparagus simply drizzled with oil and griddled or barbecued, but you can also slice it into salads and stir-fries to add sweetness, colour and texture. Or why not try it Chris’s favourite way? He loves it fried with bacon and eaten in a sandwich.
SERVES 2, OR 4 AS A SIDE DISH
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely sliced
300g new potatoes, cut into quarters
500ml vegetable stock
200g asparagus spears, tough stalks snapped off, sliced into short lengths
1 little gem lettuce, chopped
1 tbsp double cream
2 tbsp chopped mint
1 tbsp chopped parsley
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