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Asparagus - The Taste of Summer
Hailed by leading chefs as the best in the world, be sure you don't miss out on its relatively short season of just seven to eight wonderful weeks. Think summer... think asparagus! For May and June only, this sensational home grown 'super food', packed with nutrients and aphrodisiac qualities, can be enjoyed for all occasions and for all meal times. Here are a few tasty recipes, courtesy of www.british-asparagus.co.uk
Salad of Asparagus with New Potatoes, with Gorgonzola and Basil
500g asparagus spears
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
4 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper
225g small British new potatoes, boiled and cut into quarters lengthwise, and tossed in a little olive oil
250g cherry tomatoes cut in half
50g stoned black olives halved
2 shallots finely chopped
1 large bunch of basil finely shredded
150g of Gorgonzola/Dolcelatte cheese crumbled
Clean the asparagus and trim any white ends or peel with a vegetable peeler.
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, drop in the asparagus and blanch for 1-3 minutes until just tender.
Drain and immerse in very cold water to prevent further cooking. This leaves the asparagus bright green.
Mix the lemon juice and olive oil together with the sea salt and black pepper.
Add the cooked boiled potatoes, cherry tomatoes, olives, shallots and basil and toss together.
Arrange the asparagus on a large platter or individual serving plates, spoon some of the potato mixture over the asparagus and garnish with the crumbled cheese.
Pan fried chicken with asparagus, peas, tarragon and cream
A summer supper
4 skinless chicken breast fillets, cut into 5cm cubes
2 bundles British asparagus, cut into 5cm lengths
1 tbsp olive or rapeseed oil
2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
100ml white wine
100ml chicken stock
100g frozen peas
2 tbsp crème fraiche
1 tbsp tarragon, finely chopped
Melt the butter with the oil in a heavy based frying pan over a medium heat. Add the shallots and cook for 2 minutes until starting to soften, taking care not to brown them. Add the diced chicken, and fry with the shallots until the meat is sealed but not browned. Add the garlic and fry for a further minute.
Pour in the white wine and stock, bring to simmering point and cook gently for 5 minutes. Add the asparagus and cook for 3 minutes, then add the frozen peas and cook for a further 2 minutes. Add the crème fraiche and stir through well.
Sprinkle with the chopped tarragon, season and serve with some plain boiled new potatoes or rice.
500g British asparagus
1 finely chopped onion
300g Arborio rice
750ml hot chicken or vegetable stock
50g freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Gently fry the onion in the butter until it becomes translucent.
Add the rice and cook for a couple of minutes on a medium heat, stirring so that it gets a good coating of butter.
Add a ladle of hot stock at a time and continue stirring until all the stock has been used.
Meanwhile, steam the asparagus for 3-6 minutes or until tender to the point of a knife. Chop roughly once it is cooked.
Add a knob of butter, the asparagus, half the parmesan and a good grinding of black pepper to the risotto and give it a stir.
Serve your risotto in warm bowls with a sprinkling of Parmesan on top of each serving.
Asparagus with Avacado with Beans, Olives and Basil
A Salad to Eat In The Sunshine
2 bundles of British asparagus, cut into 5 cm lengths
1 ripe avocado, stoned, peeled and cut into large dice
1 tomato, skinned, deseeded and cut into small dice
100g broad beans, blanched and peeled
60g mixed olives, stoned
25g basil leaves, roughly torn
For the dressing:
3 tbsp olive or rapeseed oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, very finely chopped
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook the asparagus for 3 minutes. Drain and refresh under cold water.
Mix together all the ingredients for the dressing, and season with sea salt and black pepper. Place the broad beans, olives and half of the basil in a bowl and toss in 1 tbsp of the dressing.
Arrange the asparagus and avocado on 4 serving plates. Sprinkle with the diced tomato and remaining basil leaves, and drizzle with the dressing. Serve with the broad bean salad on the side, and some hot, crusty bread.