Asparagus

Asparagus

ASPARAGUS MOUSSE

500g asparagus

2 small shallots

1 clove of garlic

500ml vegetable stock or light chicken stock

2 leaves of gelatine

150ml whipping cream

Salt and white pepper

 

Peel asparagus and remove the woody end – reserve these bits

Place the peelings and woody bits along with the shallots and garlic in the stock and bring to the boil.  Simmer lightly for 8 minutes to extract all the flavour.

Sieve the stock and remove the trimmings, shallot and garlic and then discard.

Reduce the liquid to 200ml.  Chop the asparagus and add to the liquid and then cook until tender.

Soak the gelatine in cold water until soft.  Liquidise the asparagus in the stock and then add the gelatine (remove from the water and squeeze out) season lightly to taste.

Place in the fridge to set.  When its just starting to set whip the cream into soft peaks and fold in, pour into moulds and leave to set until firm.

 

ASPARAGUS, HAM AND GRUYERE BUCKWHEAT PANCAKES

Serves 4

160g buckwheat flour

65g plain flour

2 eggs

600ml milk

½ tsp salt

2 tbsp melted butter

6 slices of cooked ham or prosciutto

8 asparagus spears, cooked until tender

2 cups of grated gruyere cheese

 

Whisk together the flours, eggs, salt, milk and salt.  Put the batter in the fridge for 2 hours or overnight.

Heat the pan to a medium heat.  With some kitchen roll, rub a little butter around the pan, then ladle in about 25g of batter, swirl it around the pan so that you have a thin even covering.

Let the pancakes brown on one side, then flip it over.  Remove the pancake from the pan and set is aside.

When all the pancakes are cooked, start to assemble.

On each pancake place a slice of ham, two asparagus spears, sprinkle with cheese and roll up.  Place them all on a baking sheet and brush with melted butter.  Pop in a pre-heated oven (GM 5 /200c) until crisp.  Serve with dressed salad.

 

SHAVED ASPARAGUS TAGLIATELLE

Serves 4

1 bunch asparagus

400g tagliatelle pasta

100g pecorino cheese, freshly grated

4 tbsp pesto sauce (bought in is fine or use the recipe below)

Olive oil

Fresh basil

Salt and pepper

 

Remove the tips from the asparagus, blanch in salted water for no more than a minute and refresh in ice cold water

Blanch the stems in the boiling water for 30 seconds, remove and refresh in the iced water, now take a peeler and peel the stems into thin long strips, and leave to one side.

In fresh boiling salted water, cook the pasta to the instructions on the packet but check every now and again to make sure it is cooked al dente.  Once cooked, drain into a bowl and drizzle a little olive oil and mix well – this will stop the pasta from sticking together.

Quickly blanch the asparagus tips and along with the shavings toss through the pasta, along with the pesto and add a few torn basil leaves, portion onto plates and sprinkle with the cheese.  Season and serve with a nice crisp, dry white wine.

 

PESTO

60g pine nuts
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
Large bunch of basil
30g parmesan or pecorino cheese
60ml extra virgin olive oil
Grated zest of ½ lemon
Few drops of lemon juice to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place the pine nuts in a tray in a moderate oven until they are golden brown or toss in a dry pan until toasted.  Place the pine nuts in a food processor with the garlic and process for a few seconds until the nuts are chopped; now add the basil, oil and cheese.  Blitz again, season to taste and add a little lemon juice. If it’s too thick add a bit more oil.

 

HOLLANDAISE SAUCE

Using a food processor

3tbsp white wine vinegar

6 black peppercorns

1 bay leaf

2 egg yolks

125g clarified butter

Lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste

 

Put the vinegar in a small pan with the peppercorns and bay leaf.  Reduce down on a high heat until there is only 1 tbsp of liquid left.  Strain the peppercorns and bayleaf.

Put the egg yolks into a food processor with the vinegar reduction.  Warm the clarified butter in a pan until 60c.

Turn the food processor on and slowly pour the butter onto the egg yolks with the motor still running.  The sauce will start to thicken, when only the butter solids are left, stop.

If the sauce is a little too thick, add a little hot water.

Season to taste with salt, pepper and a little lemon juice.  If it gets too cold and splits heat the butter before adding more.  If it overheats and splits, add an ice cube.

Without a food processor

Place the yolks in a mixing bowl, with the reduction and place over a pan of simmering water and whisk until light and fluffy, remove from the heat and start adding the butter very slowly, whisking all the time.  If you have got someone around to help at this point that would be useful.  Keep whisking until all the butter is used up and if the sauce is too thick then add a teaspoon or two of hot water.  Season and serve.

You can add some chopped tarragon at the end point and you will have a béarnaise sauce.

 

ASPARAGUS SOUP

675g fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 5cm pieces

1 leek sliced and washed

1.5 litres of hot chicken stock

2 cloves of garlic sliced

1 tablespoon of olive oil

15g unsalted butter

1 onion, chopped

1 medium floury potato peeled and sliced

1 pinch of salt

1 pinch of ground black pepper

½ tsp lemon juice

 

In a heavy bottomed pan, heat the oil and butter and fry the onion until soft but not coloured.  Now add the white of the leek and garlic, pour over the stock and add the sliced potatoes.  Cook until tender.

Add the asparagus and the green leek, carry on cooking until tender, a further 5 minutes.

Remove from the heat, place in the liquidiser or food processor and blitz until smooth.

Season, add lemon juice, sieve and serve.