It’s spring, at last: the start of my veggie calendar, where I track time, not with days, but with fruits and vegetables. It’s easy, with a new product hitting the market shelves each week.
At the moment, asparagus season is in full swing, and it would be silly not to share a recipe highlighting their delicate, sweet essence. Paired with eggs is a timeless combination, one that Diana Henry knows well. Inspired by the soft balance of flavours of her asparagus mimosa, I’m sharing my take on this recipe, which is a real homage to one of the first vegetable of Spring.
For that reason, harvest is done a few hours after they’ve seen the sun for the first time, and farmers need to act quickly to distribute the freshest, sweetest shoots as they keep using their sugar supply to grow and toughen their foot long after they’ve been picked.
Chewing onto a wooden, stringy end is more than unpleasant, a texture that put me off as a child. It took me a few years and a pancetta wrapper to convince myself to give them another chance, which I thankfully did.
To avoid disappointment, knowing where to trim your asparagus is key, and Nature does things very well. You can easily find out where tough meets tender by holding each end of the stalk between your fingers and bending it until it snaps: the spear will naturally break at the meeting point.
It might look like a lot of the vegetable snaps off, and I understand how throwing a third of your precious greens away is heartbreaking. Not only do we want to eat as much of it as possible, but, even at the peak of their season, they aren’t cheapest vegetable. Unfortunately, there is not much you can do with the woody ends. I would maybe try to freeze them and use them in soups or to make vegetable stocks. I wouldn’t be too fussed about it though, if it’s not something you want to eat, it will get lost in your freezer.
Although we can now find most produce year round, there is nothing like the full flavours of seasonal crops that have grown in the best conditions. Try to make the most of each ingredients by savouring them in all forms possible while the season last. With your appetite satisfied, the following months of abstinence won’t seem so bad.
- 1 Egg
- 1 tsp Salt
- 150g Asparagus
- a few shavings Parmesan
- 1 tbsp Lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp Dijon Mustard
- 2 tbsp Olive oil
- 1 tsp Capers
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- In a saucepan large enough to fit the asparagus, boil the egg for 8 minutes.
- In the meantime, wash and trim the asparagus and prepare the vinaigrette by mixing all ingredients.
- Once the egg is cooked, take it out with a slotted spoon, while leaving the saucepan on the heat. Run under cold water to stop the cooking process and put to one side.
- Add a teaspoon of salt to the water and boil the asparagus for 4 minutes.
- While the cook, shell the egg and finely chop it.
- Drain the asparagus, and serve warm on a plate, topped with the chopped egg, a few shavings of Parmesan and spoonful or two of vinaigrette.