Mid to late April marks the arrival of UK asparagus season.
But it can be easy to get into the same routine with asparagus – (usually, this involves simply roasting or steaming, to have alongside meat or fish).
So if you’re looking for new and creative ways to cook with the ingredient, you’ve come to the right place.
Some of the country’s top chefs have shared a few different recipes for enjoying the humble vegetable.
These are some of their innovative ideas…
Asparagus with roasted Jerusalem artichoke and blue cheese recipe
This seasonal recipe is from Tommy Banks, chef owner of The Black Swan, Roots and Made In Oldstead. It can be prepped in 10 minutes and cooked in 45.
- 12 asparagus tips, dressed in oil
- 500g Jerusalem artichoke
- 2bsp oil
- 40g butter
- 40ml oil (in addition to above)
- 3 sprigs of rosemary
- 3 sprigs of thyme
- 50g pumpkin seeds
- 200g blue cheese
1. Pre-heat oven to 180ºC (160ºC Fan). Add butter and oil to baking tray and heat until foaming. Meanwhile, rinse and scrub artichokes to remove any dirt. Halve the small ones and quarter the bigger ones, coat everything with 2tbsp oil and season generously.
2. Carefully remove the pre-heated baking tray and add the artichoke, along with the thyme and rosemary.
3. Add butter and oil in a baking tray, roast until foaming and they carefully fold in the artichokes along with thyme and rosemary. Roast for 40 to 45 minutes until soft inside and crispy outside.
4. With 10 minutes remaining, pre-heat grill to 200ºC and grill your asparagus until the skin starts to blister, around 10 minutes, rotating halfway through. On a separate tray add your pumpkin seeds and roast in the oven.
5. To serve, place artichokes in a large bowl, evenly distribute asparagus, sprinkle pumpkin seeds and crumble blue cheese over to finish.
Expert shares how to cook asparagus:
Nutritionist and chef Anna Tebbs comments: ‘Asparagus can be enjoyed in numerous ways.
‘From steaming and boiling, to roasting, grilling and stir frying, cooking asparagus in a variety of ways adds different textures and tastes to your dishes.
‘Personally, I love stir frying or roasting asparagus. If you’re looking to add a crunchy texture to a spring salad, roasting asparagus is the perfect way, whereas stir frying is a great technique if you have a busy lifestyle, but still want to eat healthily.’
Asparagus minestrone recipe
This recipe is from Lucy Carr-Ellison and Jemima Jones, the co-founders of Wild by Tart.
They say: ’This simple recipe is great on its own but when you feel like going the extra mile, we pile on a ricotta fritter and drizzle with fresh wild garlic pesto. It’s spring in a bowl.’
- 4 rashes of smoky pancetta, chopped (optional)
- 1 leek, finely sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, sliced
- 2 sticks rosemary, leaves chopped
- 1 fennel, thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp fennel seeds, bashed
- 1 tsp dried chilli
- 1 glass white wine
- 500ml chicken stock (could also use veg stock)
- Bunch of asparagus, chopped and woody ends discarded
- Bunch wild garlic, washed and chopped
- Salt and pepper
- Small bunch parsley, chopped
- Small bunch mint, chopped
1. Place the pancetta in a pan over a medium heat with a glug of olive oil and leave to fry for a couple of minutes. Next add the leek, garlic and rosemary and sauté for 5 minutes. Follow by adding the fennel, fennel seeds and dried chilli, cook for a further 5 minutes until starting to caramelise.
2. Pour over the white wine and stock and simmer for about 5 minutes.
3. Add in the asparagus and wild garlic and season, cook for about 2 minutes then take off the heat and add the parsley and mint then serve.
Bang bang asparagus recipe
This vegan recipe from Bettina Campolucci Bordi is very simple yet satisfying.
- 1 large bunch of asparagus, blanched or quick steamed
- ¼ tsp Szechuan pepper
- ½ shallot, finely diced
- ½ chili, thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp tamari
- 1 spring onion
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds
- 60ml rapeseed oil
1. Slice the blanched asparagus diagonally into bite size pieces and arrange on a nice salad dish.
2. Add the Szechuan pepper, shallot, chilli to a heatproof bowl.
3. Heat up the oil in a pan and when very hot, pour carefully over the ingredients in the bowl, which will cook them. Add the tamari, stir to combine and then spoon or pour the warm dressing over the asparagus.
4. Finish with a sprinkle of spring onions and sesame seeds.
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