Today’s post is brought to you by the letter A. A for Asparagus.
I didn’t eat Asparagus until I moved to London. I don’t know why I agreed to eat it in the first place, I mean it looks bizarre and not at all appetizing, but I will never look back. It is currently asparagus season and if you can get fresh asparagus it is like 5 million percent better. Today I bring you the two ways we eat asparagus around here.
Simple Grilled Asparagus
What you need:
Fresh asparagus, hard bottoms trimmed
A little olive oil
A stovetop grill pan
Parmesan shavings & lemon juice (for garnish)
What you do:
After trimming the asparagus, spray or gently drizzle with olive oil. (a little tip, if you oil the asparagus on the grill, or oil the grill, it will smoke you out of your kitchen)
When the grill is really hot, lay the spears out, perpendicular to the grill ridges.
Let the asparagus sit here until they start turning a richer green, then turn over so they are equally ‘marked’ by the grill. The timing really depends on the thickness of the asparagus. If you have a diverse range of asparagus width, I recommend putting the thicker ones on first.
When ready, gently lift the spears off the grill onto a plate. Drizzle with a few drops of lemon juice and garnish with parmesan shavings. Done.
Creamy Prawn Pasta
What you need:
3 servings of raw jumbo prawns
4 large cloves of garlic, crushed
Asparagus spears (at least 10, more is better, obviously), trimmed into about 1.5 inch sections
5 fl. oz. double cream
Pasta for 3, whatever kind you prefer (we do bowties)
Salt & pepper
Fresh basil (optional)
What you do:
Get your water boiling and throw in your pasta (feel free to salt or oil as you prefer). With a little olive oil, sauté up the asparagus pieces to your liking and remove to a bowl. Turn off the heat and add a little more olive oil. Let it cool a bit and crush the garlic directly into the olive oil, then turn the heat on (this keeps the garlic from browning too quickly in the oil). When the garlic is a delicious golden brown throw in your prawns. When they are nice and pink and curled in on themselves (meaning cooked), throw the asparagus back in and then pour the double cream over the mixture. You may want to turn the heat down a little here. Let the cream bubble away, stirring occasionally until it starts to thicken. Season with salt and pepper to your taste. We prefer freshly ground black pepper and Maldon sea salt flakes (they just make you feel like that much better of a cook). Your pasta should be done at this point, so dump it out, rinse it and mix it in. Serve immediately. Garnish with fresh basil leaves, if you like basil. Pete doesn’t, so we usually leave this step out.
(We first made this recipe with peas instead of asparagus, which is a good option if there is no asparagus to be found)
Go forth to your local farmer's market and get your asparagus on!