The asparagus season in the UK is only short from early May to July. These vibrant green spears have a delicate flavour and are a delicious accompaniment to a meal. They’re a good source of vitamins like vitamin A (eye health), C (immune system), K (wound healing) and folate (oxygen carrying red blood cells). You can eat the whole of the spear of small asparagus but larger ones can be tough and woody at the ends and can be removed by gently bending each spear until it naturally snaps. Here are our top 5 ways to enjoy asparagus.
1. Dippy soldiers
Rather than making a hollandaise sauce to go with your asparagus, use the spears as soldiers to dip into a soft boiled egg. It’s a great way to enjoy fresh, tender asparagus with a buttery sauce, without slaving away making a proper hollandaise. Pop them in a steamer for 3-5 minutes and let them cool slightly before dipping. Alternatively you could use them as crudités and dip them into a yogurt dip made with garlic, lemon and basil.
2. BBQ raft
Asparagus tastes delicious griddled on the BBQ on a warm summers evening but the spears can easily fall through the holes in the grates. Toss the asparagus with olive oil, salt and pepper and thread a wooden skewer through the base and near the top of the spears to create a raft. Serve them drizzled with a lemon and tahini dressing.
Asparagus wrapped in Parma ham or smoked salmon makes a great dinner party nibble or as a starter. The tender asparagus pairs perfectly well with the salty flavour of the meat.
Asparagus develops a lovely, rich flavour when roasted in the oven. Line a tray with baking paper and lay the asparagus spears out on the tray. Then drizzle the spears with extra virgin olive oil, some freshly grated lemon zest, crushed garlic and a pinch of salt and pepper, and roast in the oven for ten minutes. Serve the asparagus with a piece of roasted salmon and sweet potato wedges.
Cut the asparagus into 2cm pieces and toss them raw into a spring risotto or pasta dish with peas, broad beans, parmesan, watercress, lemon, mint and extra virgin olive oil.