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Entries in asparagus (24)


white asparagus

it’s asparagus season at the moment and in frankfurt that means white asparagus – little stalls selling “spargel” have been popping up around the city.

in the uk white asparagus has a much lower profile than its green cousin but given the local passion for white, and the fact that i’ve not seen a peep of the green stuff, i’m getting stuck in. i’ve only cooked it once before and that was simply, just boiling it for a few minutes, and serving it to accompany a tomato and lentil salad.

this time i decided to draw inspiration from anna hansens’s roasted fennel with lemon, which i’be made every which way, and roasted it for c40 minutes along with some fennel and following the usual recipe. actually, i made a few tweaks - instead of using halloumi i crumbled a pack of feta over the roasting vegetables for the final ten minutes which created a lovely creamy sauce. fresh basil and potato gnocchi were the finishing touches in a lovely fresh and springlike meal.  


asparagus tangle pizza

this pizza has been on my “to make” list for absolutely ages. the tangle of asparagus is the thing which really appealed. and the talk of a cheese base – no tomato sauce here, just a scattering of parmesan and some chunks of saint nectaire cheese. using quail eggs was the final nail in the “i have to make this” coffin - they're so cute!

it was easy enough to pull together – i used my usual dough, a 150g flour batch for one pizza. i then shaved, using my vegetable peeler, a small bunch of asparagus (c100g shaved weight, i would use more next time) which was put on top of the dough, having already sprinkled it with 20g grated parmesan and 30g of saint nectaire.

this was baked for c4 minutes on a preheated pizza stone, removed and then the quail eggs cracked on. according to the recipe they only needed a minute of additional cooking time but in my oven (cranked up to max) they had a nearer two and still had soft yolks, so exact timing will depend on your oven. i drizzled the pizza with a lovely grassy olive oil before serving, which i think worked well.

i will definitely be making this again.


halloumi, fennel, asparagus and potato salad

as i mentioned recently, i’ve fallen in love with anna hansen’s lemon, fennel and halloumi bruschetta. the things which really makes this dish stand out for me are the layers aniseed flavours (fresh fennel and fennel seeds), the layers of caramelised flavours (the fennel and the strips of lemon zest both caramelise as they cook), the endlessly wonderful squeaky creaminess of the halloumi and the hit of citrus from the lemon.

so, when i saw hugh fearnley whittingstall’s recipe for potatoes, asparagus and halloumi which also uses lemon, i decided to combine the two, thinking that the potatoes could be used in place of the bruschetta bread. the result was fabulous, both eaten warm and as leftovers the following day.

to make this i cut my potatoes into bite size pieces, tossed them olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper and then roasted them 180c for 10 minutes. while they were cooking i mixed together pieces of fennel (cut each bulb into 10 wedges), lemon zest (peel this off and then cut into matchsticks), lemon juice, fennel seeds and a bit more olive oil, salt and pepper. this was added to the potatoes after they’d been in the oven for ten minutes, mixed together and covered with foil. after 20 minutes roasting i added my asparagus and cubes of halloumi. another stir to mix the flavours and a final ten minutes in the oven uncovered.

i finished the dish with crispy capers (drain, dry and shallow fry in olive oil) and a squeeze of fresh lemon. i meant to add some parsley, as suggested in hfw’s recipe, but forgot and i don’t think it was missed at all.


wonderfully simple summery vegetables

blanched greens - tenderstem broccoli, green beans and asparagus in this case - mixed with a dressing of oil, (i particularly like evoo or smokey tomato oil at the moment) lemon juice and zest (the zest is where all the lemon’s perfume is hidden, don’t just use the juice), salt, pepper and a little dijon mustard. some fresh herbs too if i have them to hand.

i make the dressing in the serving bowl and add the veggies as they cook, as they pick up the flavours of the dressing much more effectively if they are still warm when dressed. so simple and an almost daily dish at the moment, while i embrace the new vegetables of the new season.


pancetta-wrapped asparagus with orange dressing

i know it’s a bit late in the year for english asparagus but i wanted to share this recipe with you anyway, which i really enjoyed a couple of weeks ago.

the asparagus blanched for a few minutes and once it has cooled, then wrapped in pancetta. i then fried the asparagus in a little olive oil until the pancetta was crispy and the asparagus had finished cooking through.

the dressing, which was poured over the hot and crispy asparagus was a mix of olive oil, orange juicem orange zest and a little dijon mustard.

very simple, very summery and a little bit different.