Summer is on it’s way when the first British Asparagus is available in the shops.
Hello, this is Cookery Editor, Sue, and I wonder how many of you were like me and excited to see the first British asparagus available in our shops?
The association for British Asparagus Growers say that the season is officially from 23rd April until 21st June this year, but I didn’t see any British asparagus until the first bank holiday in May, but that maybe because I live in Kent and the traditional area famous for growing asparagus is the Vale of Evesham, but one of my local farm shops usually has locally grown asparagus when it’s in season, although I’ve found that it’s so popular that you have to get there early to make sure you get any.
When I was growing up it was a real treat to have asparagus as it was so expensive, and I thought that it was a very “posh” vegetable and that you had to have a proper asparagus steamer to cook it, however, now I know better! Whilst the theory of an asparagus is that the stems which are tougher than the tips will cook in boiling water whilst the tips are gently steamed, I find that I can get good results just cooking the asparagus in a frying pan. I do try to choose fairly young stems of asparagus as the thick stems can sometimes be a little woody, and I take care not to overcook it, so that it retains a little bite.
One of my favourite ways of serving it for a light lunch is to have Griddled Asparagus with Halloumi as I love the firm texture and saltiness of the cheese with the fresh crisp asparagus. Sometimes if I don’t have any baby courgettes, I just do this recipe with more asparagus.
Another simple way of serving the asparagus is with crunchy lemon breadcrumbs, as the citrus tang goes really well with the asparagus.
I do also love classic way of serving it, lightly boiled or steamed and with Hollandaise Sauce, but I’ve been very lazy at home and I’ve bought several ready-made hollandaise sauces to try them.
The overall favourite (particularly with my 2 year old daughter, who loves picking up the asparagus spears and dipping them in hollandaise) is the Waitrose Hollandaise Sauce, which is very rich and creamy as it’s made from single cream, milk, butter and double cream. But I also really like the Swedish Eriks Hollandaise Sauce which is available from Waitrose and Ocado as I find the texture of it is better, although the jury was out over the colour as it’s quite yellow as it’s made from rapeseed oil.