Hello asparagus! Oh how excited I get about the appearance of these delicate green spears. Their is something magical about their arrival, marking the changing of the season, they really do mean Winter is passed and Spring has well and truly arrived with sunshine on the way. They will no doubt be making regular appearances here as they are want to do each and every Spring. We get to enjoy these delicate green spears until early Summer in any number of ways...dunked in a soft boiled egg, shaved in to a salad, in a fresh lemony pasta, pasta, grilled, alongside a dollop of hollandaise, wrapped in a little prosciutto...the list could go on and on.
My new assistant (Sorry Lucy I couldn't help myself!)
Back in the day if Roman Emperor Augustus wanted something done quickly he would command it be done "citius quam asparagi coquintur" That would be "quicker than you can cook asparagus". This is good advice, so whichever way you choose to cook asparagus do it quickly. A few minutes is all that is needed. At the beginning of the season you can even bypass cooking all together as raw it is perfectly crisp and sweet and a welcome addition to any salad.
Marcel Proust, I think, perfectly sums up the magical (and not so magical!) qualities of asparagus...
“... asparagus, tinged with ultramarine and rosy pink which ran from their heads, finely stippled in mauve and azure, through a series of imperceptible changes to their white feet, still stained a little by the soil of their garden-bed: a rainbow-loveliness that was not of this world. I felt that these celestial hues indicated the presence of exquisite creatures who had been pleased to assume vegetable form, who, through the disguise which covered their firm and edible flesh, allowed me to discern in this radiance of earliest dawn, these hinted rainbows, these blue evening shades, that precious quality which I should recognise again when, all night long after a dinner at which I had partaken of them, they played (lyrical and coarse in their jesting as the fairies in Shakespeare’s Dream) at transforming my humble chamberpot into a bower of aromatic perfume.”
1 knob butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 shallot, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
8 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tbsp creme fraiche
1/4 cup Parmesan, grated
1/4 cup basil leaves, roughly chopped
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
1 bunch asparagus*
*As this was fresh, thin first season asparagus there was no need to blanch. If later in the season, or thicker asparagus, Blanch for a couple of minutes in boiling salted water and then plunge in to iced water to stop them cooking and to keep them that lovely bright Spring green before laying in to the egg mixture.
|Lots of herbs|
Pre heat oven to 170C / 335F
Heat the butter and 1 tbsp of olive oil. Add the shallot, season with a pinch of salt, and cook over a medium low heat for a few minutes until it is translucent, add the garlic and sauté for a few moments more. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
Whisk together the eggs, creme fraiche, Parmesan and season with salt and pepper. When the onions and garlic are cool add the egg mixture and the chopped herbs and mix well together.
Heat a small non-stick, ovenproof frying pan or skillet over a medium heat and add the olive oil. Swirl it around in the pan to coat the bottom and sides. Add the egg mixture and lower the heat. Lay the asparagus spears like the spokes of a wheel. Cook the frittata stove top for 10 minutes before transferring to the oven for 5-10 minutes until just cooked through.
Let the frittata cool in the pan for a couple of minutes before turning it out. Place a plate over the top of the pan and invert the frittata on to it. Allow the frittata to cool. Serve at room temperature.
This will be my lunch for the next couple of days along with some salad. Spring is in the air and it is time for more salad with Summer around the corner and potential visits to the beach! This is light and airy, the asparagus sweet and still a little crunchy and a bright fresh herbal note from the parsley and basil, it really is Spring on a plate.
|Gorgeous salad leaves from Huckleberry|
One year ago The First Spring Asparagus
Two years ago Supper Club #3