Spring Asparagus is in a class of its own. Fresh, gentle, spring green and tender stalks – for me, so evocative of hot steamy days and the typical Australian BBQ with a large plate of char grilled asparagus stalks with lemon and sea salt.
I have been baking it lately, wrapping it in foil with butter, lemon juice and sea salt, or with some white wine, butter and sea salt. Popped in an oven for 15 or 20 minutes and the resulting tender and flavoured asparagus is meltingly tender. Asparagus and butter is a perfect match determined by some golden deity many eons ago.
The gentleness of asparagus means that is is just right for a range of dishes, from salads to soups, to hot and steamy to chilled and icy. From whole stalks to creamy purees. Grilled, BBQ’d, baked, steamed or lightly simmered.
Throw them into salads to make the salad exotic, make a salad with asparagus, tiny potatoes, oil, lemon squeeze and chopped herbs. Stir steamed asparagus through buttery rice or make a risotto with them. Mix them with capers. Make a vichyssoise.
Sprinkle grated parmesan over the stalks as they come out of the cooking medium – I particularly like parmesan over asparagus cooked in a file packet with butter, lemon and salt. Or melt bocconcini balls over hot hot asparagus. Feta or ricotta is just fine too. Or roast some cherry tomatoes and crush them roughly to make a quick rustic sauce for the hot stalks. Or finely grate lemon zest over hot stalks.
Toss stalks with a mixture of olive oil and lemon juice, scatter with salt and black pepper. Grill over the BBQ and drizzle with the remaining lemon juice and oil mixture when cooked.
An unusual Spanish spiced asparagus comes from an article from eons ago by Diane Holuigue.
Go Chinese and stir fry chopped stalks with garlic, using shao hsing wine and water to steam the stalks at the last minutes, and dress with Chinese black vinegar and Chinese sesame oil.
Get your Spring Asparagus on.
- Asparagus Risotto
- Chilled Asparagus Soup
- Another Cold Asparagus Soup
- Steamed Asparagus with Tomato and Pine Nut Salsa
- Asparagus Salad with Ginger and Coriander Dressing