May 6th, 2013
I was delighted to find Asparagus at the farmers’ market yesterday. The season is short, April 23rd to June 21st for the UK and it’s late this year! Asparagus is at its very best when freshly picked, so I urge you to buy it from a farmer rather than a supermarket. I’m grateful for the effort Martin the farmer makes, in picking the day before market, so that it’s as fresh as possible, short of growing it myself.
Asparagus can be simmered, steamed, barbecued, etc. Last night I cooked it simply in a griddle pan. Rub the pan with a tiny splash of olive oil and heat it until it’s just smoking. Cook the Asparagus on the hot griddle for 4 or 5 minutes, turning occasionally. Test it with a fork to see if it’s tender (it should be served al dente), there’s no need to cook it until it’s charred.
My favourite accompaniment is Hollandaise Sauce. This can be made several ways – my favourite is with a red or white wine vinegar reduction – see here for the recipe. There are some simpler methods combining butter, an egg yolk and lemon juice, which are very good and quick, though to my mind the taste and texture reminds me slightly of lemon custard. There’s a very good analysis on Hollandaise recipes and methodology here. On a busy day I just wrap the asparagus in foil with a little butter (or olive oil) and chopped garlic. It cooks in the oven in 5 – 10 minutes, while something else is roasting.