Top Tips for Asparagus Spears

Seasonal British asparagus on the side of the road is one of the things that makes the countryside in the UK so brilliant... And asparagus itself is a tasty little gem of a vegetable - easy to cook, simple to prepare and absolutely delicious however you serve it. And that's without even mentioning how good it is for you. Long cultivated for its positive medicinal effects, asparagus is high in potassium, good for pregnant ladies, high in fibre and crucially contains lots of folate, which they (mostly Wikipedia) reckon might be effective against both heart disease and Alzheimer's. The list of excellent things about Asparagus clearly goes on; so here are some good (and tasty) tips for using those spears...

To prepare:

  • Wash
  • Snap the woody ends off
  • (You’ll find where to snap by bending the spear!)

1. Asparagus with Lemon

Grilled, griddled, fried or BBQ’d for just a few minutes on each side – and served with a squeeze of lemon is a great way to eat Asparagus

2. Asparagus with Mayo

But really only with homemade Mayonnaise, or mayo where you know the eggs are Free Range and happy, and where the oil is great quality Olive Oil (Extra Virgin) or Rape Seed

3. Scrambled Eggs with Asparagus

Make your Scrambled Eggs just with egg, lightly beaten in a bowl.  Just add the beaten eggs to a pan, and stir over a very low heat until cooked to the consistency you’re after.  Served immediately with some great bread and a couple of spears of Asparagus, and this is supper heaven!

4. Asparagus In a Frittata

Asparagus is ale really good in a Frittata with some sliced Onions, Potatoes, and maybe Red Peppers

5. Asparagus With Potato Salad

Sounds odd – but Asparagus with Potato Salad is a great combination, especially with some Capers and Red Onion stirred into the Potato Salad

6. Poached Asparagus

With other vegetables, poached in a delicious mixture of Lemon, White Wine and Olive Oil with some fragrant herbs (a la Ottolenghi) – this Poached Veg recipe is an excellent way to eat Asparagus

7. Rice with Asparagus

I sometimes chop the good ends of the woody ends of the stem, and the stalky ends of the spears into very fine slices, and add them to Pilavs.  Served with the whole spears on the side, this is a great way of incorporating Asparagus into a supper dish in more than one way.  You could also make healthy Risotto with or Paella - both recipes go really well with Asparagus

8. Asparagus On Pizza

No need to pre-cook the Asparagus – just make an Alfredo Pizza, and then add the spears, or chopped Asparagus… Some good accompanying toppings would include Anchovies, Red Onion, Red Pepper, Basil and an egg, broken over the Pizza just before it goes in the oven for 11 mins at 220˚c

9. BBQ’d Asparagus

Always a great thing to do with veg… BBQ the Asparagus spears until they are just cooked, still with a bit of bite… and then maybe a Ranch Dressing?  Or a Healthy Caesar Salad Dressing?!

10. Asparagus With Pasta

Grilled and served with Parsley and Garlic Pasta, Asparagus is delicious (and super healthy, don’t forget)

NB – Don’t buy asparagus if it isn’t in season…. If you buy it after June (ish) and before April or May, it’ll likely have come from Peru (or somewhere further flung), in which case you shouldn’t bother.  Precisely why you have to make the most of asparagus while it’s around, locally or at least British grown

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