Better late than never for English asparagusBy Tony Cole
June 08, 2012
Tony Cole of LSQ2 at Green Park says although it’s late, British asparagus has been well worth the wait.
And he turns it into a delicious salad and a mega quiche
English asparagus is usually available from May 1 for 6-7 weeks, sometimes slightly earlier, finishing in the later part of June.
Unfortunately, due to this year’s bad weather it has arrived late and has been in short supply.
You can buy imported asparagus during the rest of the year but English asparagus is certainly worth waiting for, as in my opinion, asparagus deteriorates within 24 hours of picking.
In Britain we normally eat most of the asparagus we grow, not surprising, as it is thought to have aphrodisiacal properties and is very good for you.
It is high in Vitamin A, folic acid and dietary fibre. However, the very best thing about English asparagus is that it tastes delicious and has an delightful flavour and freshness.
Here of two of my favourite seasonal recipes for asparagus currently on offer at LSQ2 in Green Park.
Asparagus and New Potato Salad
320g Jersey Royal new potatoes (approx 6 each)
250g Wye Valley asparagus (approx 3 each)
60g Prosciutto (1 slice per person)
100g mixed lettuce leaves
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
100g Cornish soft goat’s cheese
12 slices good quality baguette
For the dressing:
2tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
4tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Pre-heat the oven to 200C. Cut the Jersey Royals in half and roast in olive oil and sea salt for 12-14.
Season the trimmed asparagus spears and add to the potatoes. Roast for a further 10 minutes.
Slice the prosciutto and mix with the lettuce leaves in a mixing bowl. Add the roasted potatoes and asparagus cut into three diagonally and toss together with the dressing. Check seasoning.
Finish with toasted croutons topped with the soft goat’s cheese melted under the grill.
Asparagus, Spinach and Spenwood Cheese Quiche
340g flour, sifted
1sp sea salt
250g unsalted butter, chilled
0.25 cup ice water
25g butter, for greasing the tin
2.5 cups milk
2.5 cups double cream
7 large eggs
1tbsp sea salt
¼ tsp ground white pepper
200g Spenwood cheese, grated
100 baby spinach leaves
1tbsp truffle oil
Using a paddle attachment in the mixer, slowly add the butter into half the flour. When well mixed, add the rest of the flour. Then add the water. The mix should be smooth not sticky. Wrap the dough and rest in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
Grease a 20cm spring form tin with butter. Roll the dough with a rolling pin until it is approx. 3 mm. Line the spring form tin with the dough and refrigerate again. Line inside the dough with greaseproof paper, fill with dried beans and bake blind for 30 minutes at 190c. Remove the beans and paper and bake for a further 15 minutes.
Boil the cream and milk together until scalded. Remove from heat.
In a mixing bowl crack the eggs, sea salt and pepper then whisk in the warm cream and milk until light and foamy.
Mix in the cheese then add the spinach into the warm egg mix to wilt.
Spoon the spinach into the bottom of the pastry case and layer the pre-cooked and drained asparagus spears on top. Then pour the mix over the top.
Bake for 1 hour and 25 minutes at 150C. Remove from the oven and drizzle over the truffle oil. When you take the hot quiche from the oven it will not be firm, leave to set at room temperature for 1 hour before refrigerating.