Food columnist Kat Riach is passionate about seasonality, local produce and home cooking. Here she let’s us in on the secret of making the most of asparagus.
This week, our hens emerged from their winter home in the polytunnel and had their first taste of fresh grass for the year. We have enjoyed outdoors work to a background of satisfied cooing and clucking.
Over the coming week or two we will see a wonderful change in the yolks of their eggs, to the rich orange brought about by the carotene in the grass. When they are this tasty, you don’t need to do anything complicated to them to make them into a delicious meal.
We have also relished our first packet of British Asparagus of the year. Asparagus grown here in the UK has such a short season, so we’re digging out all our favourite recipes.
For a delicious, healthy spring lunch take one packet of asparagus and snap off the woody ends – the spears will naturally break where woody bottom part meets the more tender tips.
Use the woody ends to make a simple soup by chopping the green ends from one leek together with 1 garlic clove and frying in some olive oil. Add a splash of white wine, allowing the alcohol to cook off, throw in a small handful of oats and 500ml of vegetable stock.
When boiling, add the asparagus ends, simmer for 5 minutes, then add in 50g spinach leaves, cook until they wilt. Blend, pass through a sieve to remove any tough woody fibres, and serve with a dollop of plain yoghurt.
To accompany the soup, soft boil a couple of eggs. Pan fry, steam or boil the asparagus tips for just 3 minutes, making sure they maintain their all important crunch. Cut the top off the eggs, season and dip your asparagus spears into the yolk. Alongside the soup this makes for a wonderful, simple healthy lunch.