9 Ways With Asparagus

Full of antioxidants and vitamins A, C and E, it’s always a joy to hear asparagus is back in season. To celebrate, we asked some of our favourite cooks how they work with this versatile ingredient. Whether you’re after a classic soup or comforting pasta dish, here are nine simple yet delicious recipes to try.
BRITISH ASPARAGUS
Asparagus, Potato & Avocado Salad: Ella Mills, Deliciously Ella

Serves

2

Total Time

30 Minutes

Ingredients

12 asparagus spears, woody stems removed
8 large new potatoes
1 large handfuls of rocket
12 cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters
2 ripe avocados
2 handfuls of pumpkin seeds
For the dressing:
2 tbsp of olive oil
2 tbsp of tahini
Juice of 2 lime
Pinch of sea salt

Method

Step 1

Start by boiling the potatoes for 15-20 minutes until perfectly soft. While these cook, steam the asparagus for 5-10 minutes, until it's cooked but still has a slight bite. Once cooked, drain and leave both to cool down to room temperature.

Step 2

Once cool, cut the potatoes into bite-sized pieces and place into a large bowl with the rest of the salad ingredients. Pour over the dressing ingredients and give everything a really good mix before serving.
Eggs Benedict With Marmite Hollandaise: Billy & Jack

Serves

2

Total Time

15 Minutes

Ingredients

1 tbsp of white wine vinegar
2 egg yolks
220g of clarified butter
1 tbsp of Marmite
2 poached egg​
12 spears of asparagus

Method

Step 1

Whisk the egg yolks in a bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water. Add the vinegar and continue whisking for around five minutes, or until light and fluffy.

Step 2

Start adding the clarified butter very slowly while constantly whisking, until the mixture has a mayonnaise-like consistency.

Step 3

Cook the poached egg and asparagus to your liking.

Step 4

Finally, whisk the Marmite into the sauce, and serve drizzled over the asparagus and poached egg.
Asparagus & Spinach Soup: Lily Simpson, Detox Kitchen

Serves

4

Total Time

25 Minutes

Ingredients

2 spring onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
250g of new potatoes
2 celery sticks, diced
500ml of vegetable stock
8 asparagus spears, tough ends broken off
250g of spinach
Flaked sea salt and cracked black pepper
Toasted sunflower seeds, to garnish
Rapeseed oil for frying

Method

Step 1

Heat a little oil in a saucepan, add the spring onions and garlic and cook until soft. Add the potatoes, celery and vegetable stock. Bring to the boil, then simmer until the potatoes are softened.

Step 2

Cut the asparagus tips from the stalks, then cut the tips lengthways in half. Chop the stalks. Add all the asparagus to the pan and cook it for 2-3 minutes until almost tender. Add the spinach and cook for 1 minute.

Step 3

Transfer half of the mixture to a blender or food processor and blitz until smooth. Pour this back into the pan. Add a good pinch each of salt and pepper. Reheat, if necessary, before serving hot, sprinkled with sunflower seeds.
Pan-Fried Asparagus With Soft-Boiled Egg & Romesco: Ben Tish, Norma

Serves

4

Total Time

20 Minutes

Ingredients

1 bunch of English asparagus, any woody stalk trimmed and stems peeled from about half-way down
30g of unsalted butter
4 medium free-range or organic eggs
Extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and pepper
For the romesco sauce:
30g of toasted almonds
30g of toasted walnuts
1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
200g of roasted, skinned red peppers from a jar
¼ tsp of hot smoked paprika
¼ tsp of cayenne pepper
Slice of stale sourdough bread
1 tsp tomato paste
2 tsp of sherry vinegar
2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil

Method

Step 1

To make the romesco sauce, simply put everything in a blender, season and blitz until you have a coarse puree. Set aside.

Step 2

Boil the eggs for 5 minutes, drain off the water and refresh the eggs under cold running water for 2 minutes until cold. Carefully peel the eggs and set aside.

Step 3

Place a large sauté pan over a medium heat and add a glug of olive oil and the butter.

Step 4

When the butter begins to foam, add the asparagus and season well. Cook for 3 minutes, turning the asparagus as you go. The butter will start to turn brown and the asparagus will become tender. Turn off the heat and transfer the asparagus to a kitchen towel to drain.

Step 5

Divide the asparagus between plates, a good dollop of romesco and then cut the eggs in half lengthwise, season and add to the plates.
Baked Comté & Asparagus: Laura Pope, The Dorset Kitchen

Serves

2

Total Time

25 Minutes

Ingredients

About 20 asparagus spears, woody ends snapped off – if the spears are quite thin, you may want to use more
25g of unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing the dish
25g of plain flour
225ml of milk
½ tsp of Dijon mustard
1 egg yolk
1 dash of Worcestershire sauce
100g of comté, grated

Method

Step 1

Preheat oven to 200°C/180°C Fan and rub the inside of a shallow ovenproof dish with unsalted butter.

Step 2

Bring a large pan of salted water to boil and blanch the asparagus for one minute, then drain in a colander and run under cold water to stop the cooking. Once the asparagus is cold, drain and place in the ovenproof dish.

Step 3

In a small pan on a medium heat, melt the butter, then stir in the flour. Cook, stirring for 1 to 2 minutes until lightly golden. Remove the pan from the heat and gradually whisk in the milk to form a smooth sauce. Return to the heat, stir and simmer for 2-3 minutes until the sauce has thickened to the consistency of custard.

Step 4

Remove from the heat and beat in the egg yolk, mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper and pour most of the sauce over the asparagus.

Step 5

Top with the comté and place the dish in the oven for 8 minutes. Meanwhile, turn the grill on high. After 8 minutes, transfer the dish from the oven to the grill to cook for a further 1-2 minutes until the top is golden brown and bubbling. Serve immediately with crusty bread.
Asparagus & Garlic Prawn Spaghetti: British Asparagus

Serves

2

Total Time

15 Minutes

Ingredients

250g of spaghetti
250g of asparagus
2 tbsp of butter
2 tbsp of olive oil
3 cloves garlic, crushed
200g of raw prawns
¼ tsp of Italian seasoning
Sea salt and black pepper
60ml of vegetable stock
1 tsp of sriracha
Juice of ½ a lemon
½ tsp of crushed chilli flakes (optional)

Method

Step 1

Put the spaghetti on to boil in a large pan of salted boiling water.

Step 2

Trim the asparagus and cut each spear into three.

Step 3

Heat 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of oil in a frying pan and add the garlic and fry for a minute and then add the asparagus. Toss in the pan for a couple of minutes, then remove and set aside.

Step 4

In the same pan add another 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of oil and add the prawns. Cook for a minute each side until turning pink. Then add the Italian seasoning, salt and pepper, stock, sriracha, lemon juice and chilli flakes, and allow the pan to bubble. Stir the asparagus back in.

Step 5

Drain the spaghetti, reserving some of the cooking water and toss it through the mixture in the pan, adding some of the cooking water if you feel it needs to be a bit looser. Serve immediately.
Ginger Miso Grilled Asparagus: British Asparagus

Serves

4

Total Time

10 Minutes

Ingredients

500g of asparagus
30g of white miso
45ml of rice wine vinegar
15ml of honey
2 tsp of grated ginger
Sea salt and black pepper
Lime wedges
1 tbsp of toasted sesame seeds
4 spring onions finely sliced on the diagonal

Method

Step 1

Wash and trim the asparagus and lay it on a baking sheet. Preheat the grill to high.

Step 2

In a small bowl, mix the miso, vinegar, honey, ginger and seasoning and drizzle it over the asparagus, tossing with your hands to make sure the spears are well coated.

Step 3

Place the asparagus under the grill for around 5 minutes, turning it a couple of times until it is slightly charred.

Step 4

Transfer to a serving plate, add the lime wedges and sprinkle with sesame seeds and spring onion slices.
Crispy Asparagus Topped Mac & Cheese: British Asparagus

Serves

3-4

Total Time

40 Minutes

Ingredients

250g of asparagus
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
4 tbsp of panko breadcrumbs
1 tbsp of red pesto
1 tbsp of parmesan, grated
250g of short rigatoni (or another chunky pasta shape like penne)
50g of butter
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
50g of plain flour
750-850ml of whole milk
50g of parmesan, grated
80g of cheddar, grated
Sea salt and black pepper

Method

Step 1

Wash and trim the asparagus, then blanch it briefly in boiling water. Refresh it in cold water, then set to one side.

Step 2

In a small bowl, mix the crushed garlic, olive oil, breadcrumbs, red pesto and parmesan and mix together. Set to one side.

Step 3

Put the pasta on to cook in a large pan of salted, boiling water.

Step 4

In a separate pan on a medium heat, melt the butter and add the garlic and fry for a minute. Add the flour and cook for one more minute, stirring as you go.

Step 5

Now slowly whisk in the milk, start with 700ml and see how much your sauce thickens – you want it to coat the back of the spoon, but not get too thick, so add more milk if necessary. Now take off the heat and mix in the cheeses and plenty of salt and pepper to taste.

Step 6

Preheat your grill on medium-high, then mix the pasta with the sauce and the blanched asparagus and transfer to a large oven proof dish. Crumble over the breadcrumb mix. Put under the grill for around 5 minutes, or until golden and crispy.
Lemon & Pecorino: Sami Harvey, The Laundry Brixton
Grilled Asparagus With Lemon & Pecorino: Sami Harvey, The Laundry Brixton

Serves

2

Total Time

15 Minutes

Ingredients

300g of English asparagus
1 lemon
100g of pecorino, shaved
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
Handful of pea shoots

Method

Step 1

Snap off the bases of the asparagus, where they naturally break.

Step 2

If the stems are very fat, plunge into salted boiling water for 90 seconds and refresh into an ice bath. However, if the stems are fine, you may grill them directly.

Step 3

Preheat a chargrill or BBQ until very hot.

Step 4

Toss the asparagus with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Step 5

Place directly onto the grill and turn only when the asparagus have been seared and grill lines have appeared. Ensure that the asparagus is grilled on all sides.

Step 6

Place onto a serving plate, zest the lemon over the asparagus and finish with the pecorino, pea shoots and a final pour of olive oil.

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