last year my favourite tv cookery show was tom kerridge’s proper pub food – really interesting recipes which weren’t dumbed down but were achievable at home despite, presumably, being based on recipes that would be served in his 2 michelin starred pub.
i cooked quite a few of the recipes and in most cases found particular elements of the dish that i loved – it was a little odd to find this, rather than loving a dish as a whole, but actually it’s great as it has encouraged me to try particular components with different accompaniments. particular favourites included the cavolo nero salsa that accompanied a pork belly recipe and the dal that accompanied a braised ox cheeks dish (the ox cheeks were a disaster for me, ending up really bitter so lots of tweaks were needed to rescue them!). friends raved about the slow-cooked lamb with boulangere potatoes.
anyway, to get to the point, he has a new tv show – spring kitchen (which has an annoying daytime tv magazine format but i’m ignoring that as the food being cooked is good). this asparagus dish was in the first episode and i made it that weekend, delighting in the fact that white asparagus is so easy to buy here in germany.
the white asparagus is braised in a butter and water mix, which creates a lovely flavour; it also gives you the start of a dressing - a bit of lemon juice for acidity plus, if you have it, smoked butter (i didn’t have any so i skipped this part of the recipe). the lardo really works well and i liked the fact that the slices cooked underneath the asparagus stays soft while those that are on top end up crispy (i’m not sure this is what the recipe intended but i loved the contrast so would try to replicate it).
despite missing out a few components of the recipe – the smoked butter plus reduced pork sauce – the resulting dish was wonderful with lots of interesting flavours and a complexity that was well worth the effort.