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Entries in asparagus (29)


fennel and asparagus salad with toasted hazelnuts

we’re on holiday at the moment and this was a “use up what’s in the fridge” meal just before we left. one large bulb of fennel was roasted with strips of lemon zest and fennel seeds (follow the link for full details). i tossed this with some just-cooked asparagus and added drizzles of white balsamic vinegar and olive oil plus a couple of handfuls of rocket leaves and some chopped mint. final bits were some buffalo mozzarella and toasted hazelnuts. we ate this with crusty bread.


halloumi and asparagus with lime and caper dressing

this is a much loved favourite that i make every year – fried halloumi slices dusted with seasoned flour (black pepper and smoked paprika are my favourites, don’t add salt though, as the cheese will already be salty), a zingy lime and herb dressing with capers for an extra kick plus gorgeous green asparagus. it’s great as a light meal or as  starter. try to eat it while the cheese is still warm so it has that lovely slightly melty texture.

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asparagus and chorizo popover

so, a popover, what’s that then? it’s nothing i’ve come across before in the uk but it seems to be the american version of the british yorkshire pudding. except they’re as likely to be eaten with jam, fruit and cream for breakfast rather as part of a savoury meal (usually a traditional roast dinner in the uk, especially if it is roast beef).

having said that, it was actually a large popover, with “fillings” that caught my eye – this double smoked bacon and asparagus popover to precise. again there is a similarity with a uk dish – this time toad in the hole. i have to confess that the asparagus filling is more my kind of thing, rather the traditional sausage that is use to make “toad” (although i remember making a sweet version with a pineapple ring in a school cookery class!).

i decided to use a mix of asparagus and chorizo and loved the result. it is quite a heavy and filling dish and i think it needs an accompaniment to counter any dryness – a spicy tomato salsa or chutney would have been ideal here, as would a dressed salad. i’m looking forward to experimenting with popovers!


sweet potato rosti with asparagus and poached eggs

it’s asparagus season and, as usual, i’m making the most of it. we’ve had some white asparagus* but it’s the green stuff that i really love and this is what i’ve been focusing on. this is a good way to sneak it into a weekend breakfast – i used it in place of the called-for avocado.

the sweet potato rosti was not the easiest thing to make – it’s quite a delicate mix so turning it over can be tricky and i was also worried about it cooking through, so decided to go with large oval shapes, that i could flatten out  quite a bit. this also had the advantage of providing enough space for two poached eggs per person.

to avoid getting too stressed out i suggest waiting until the rosti is cooked through before you start your eggs – the rosti will keep warm over a low heat, slowly getting crispier round the edges, or you can put them in a warmed oven. i think it’s also worth adding some spice to the rosti mix – garam masala, cumin or coriander would all be good, plus extra fresh herbs.

* i do plan to make this white asparagus with lardo, parmesan and toasted hazelnuts again, before the season ends.

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asparagus with lardo, parmesan and toasted hazelnuts


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.

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