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British asparagus is in season, and I never fail to marvel at how versatile this spring vegetable is.
Asparagus, how do we love thee? Let me count the ways...
The best way to consume asparagus, in my opinion as a slight health nut, is to steam, briefly blanch or stir fry it to retain all its wonderful nutrients before eating it as a side or adding it to salads. You could also just grill it with some olive oil, salt and pepper and eat it as is. Its javelin-like shape lends itself to dipping; throw away the breadsticks because everyone is partial to asparagus with freshly made lemony hollandaise! But how about dipping your spears in a garlicky aioli, or some hummus, or the runny yolk of an egg, or a smoky baba ghanoush or a pesto? In fact, you could purée the asparagus and add it to pesto genovese for a vitamin packed green pasta sauce. Speaking of its long limbs, asparagus is asking to be wrapped up into cigar like appetisers. Pancetta or bacon is an obvious choice, but you could also wrap the spears with strips of puff pastry, sprinkled with Gruyère. Or how about a layer of anchovy paste with a filo pastry?
It's safe to say there are many ways we love this spring sprout. Here are my three ways with asparagus: