I love spring & summer vegetables in the UK, asparagus is my second favourite (peas are obviously number 1). Most of the time I serve asparagus with tons of butter, a splash of lemon juice, salt & pepper. Job done – delicious! Only occasionally do I bother trying something different & I am often disappointed with the results but not this time.
I made this as a starter for a supperclub which celebrates seasonal food. We host this at my new place of work – Regather in Sheffield. It is a co-op which was set up to get local people working together. One of our projects is a veg box scheme. We work with local growers as often as possible & everything is organic. One of the perks of working here is getting my hands on these wonderful ingredients.
I have now done two Eating Seasonally menus & I have loved designing & cooking them. The idea is to showcase the wonderful produce so there is a delicate balance between simplicity & doing some cheffy stuff. People do not want to pay to eat things they could make at home in 3 minutes. I knew that for May asparagus was a must. We can get it all year in the Uk now but I only buy the English stuff. Sorry to my former home – Peru – but your asparagus has no flavour. In May I eat it pretty much every day.
I reckon the best things to serve with asparagus are eggs, lemon, butter or olive oil & miso. Too many ingredients mask the delicate flavour. Becky suggested this Nigel Slater recipe for my menu as it combines those ingredients to great effect & is delicious with the fresh asparagus. I have to say the diners loved it. Several of our guests had never eaten asparagus & it made me very happy to see them get such joy from trying it.
This sauce is a great thing to serve if you have lots of people to feed or are not comfortable with using uncooked eggs. You can pretty much use any leafy herbs. I used tarragon because I wanted to have an aniseed flavour in there. I think chervil is traditional.
Asparagus with Sauce Gribiche
Ingredients: (Serves 6)
6 portions of asparagus (I used 4 per person as they were large)
2 tsp dijon mustard (or wholegrain)
2 tsp white wine vinegar
2 tsp lemon juice
125ml olive oil
2 tbsp capers
2 tbsp chopped gherkins
about 2 tbsp tarragon & parsley – finely chopped
salt & pepper
Preparation (about 20 minutes):
- Boil the eggs for about 8 minutes so that the yolks are firm but not overcooked. Cool
- Remove the yolks & mash them thoroughly. Put them into a mixing bowl with the dijon
- Chop the egg whites & set aside
- Meanwhile put some salty water on to boil for the asparagus. Cook it for a few minutes until tender but still al dente
- Whisk the olive oil into the yolks & dijon to create a thick sauce
- Add the rest of the ingredients & mix thoroughly. Taste for seasoning
- Serve with the blanched asparagus.
NB – You can prepare the asparagus ahead of time & plunge it into icy water to stop it cooking. Then just reheat & serve when you need it.
Here’s a few pics from the supperclub. Thanks to Zuzanna Jankowska for taking them & all our other volunteers for their brilliant support.