At the pub we know spring has finally arrived when Tom from Reg the Veg starts bringing in the first of the years Wye Valley asparagus. Hopefully like us you’ll have avoided all temptation to buy imported asparagus through the rest of the year so once spring comes around we appreciate the native green spears that bit more.
While asparagus is in season it doesn’t leave our menu, and why should it? It’s utterly delicious and the relatively short season encourages us to enjoy it in as many different ways as possible.
There is so much you can do with asparagus, especially when there is a glut in the height of the season although we prefer it in its simplest form, briefly boiled in salted water with a poached egg or shaved and tossed through a salad.
Currently on our menu we are serving chargrilled asparagus with homemade ricotta, hazelnuts and mint. Below are our recipes and methods to create this dish:
Firstly, snap the stems at the natural point of breaking to remove any fibrous woody sections of stalk. Secondly, blanch stems in salted boiling water for 2 minutes until tender. To give the stems a smoky barbequed taste place spears on a smoking hot chargrill or griddle pan.
To make our Ricotta:
1L Whole milk
250g Double cream
30g Lemon Juice
Weigh cream, milk and a pinch of salt into a pan and bring up to 87®C, then add lemon juice. Cover the pan with a lid and leave at room temperature for 3 hours to allow the creamy mixture to split and coagulate. Pour the mixture through muslin or a fine meshed sieve and collect the ricotta. Store this in the fridge until required.
2 diced shallot
100g sherry vinegar
100g hazelnut oil
300g rapeseed oil
100g toasted chopped hazelnuts
Put shallots and rapeseed oil in a pan and cook very slowly until shallots are tender. Add sherry vinegar, hazelnut oil and chopped hazelnuts. Finish by finally adding salt and lemon juice to taste. Dress the warm chargrilled asparagus with this dressing before serving.