The British asparagus season is upon us, and to celebrate, FOUR has gathered a selection of asparagus recipes from chefs including Alain Ducasse, Dan BarberMichel Roux Jr and Tom Aikens.

 

Soft Boiled Egg with Smoked Salmon, Asparagus tips and Caviar

A simple yet luxurious recipe – with the addition of double cream and sevruga caviar – taken from Michel Roux Jr’s cookbook Le Gavroche.

Serves 6

 

Ingredients

30 small asparagus tips

4 slices of smoked salmon

2 tablespoons double cream

2 tablespoons horseradish relish

4 eggs

120g sevruga caviar

Olive oil

12 round brioche bread toasts (1cm thick, 3-5cm wide)

 

Method

Peel the asparagus and trim to 4cm lengths. Cook in boiling salted water until just tender (5-7 minutes), then immediately refresh in ice-cold water and drain. Cut the smoked salmon into 18 rounds, using a cutter the same diameter as the brioche.

Whip the cream and add the horseradish relish. Cook the eggs in boiling water for 3 ½ minutes, hold under cold running water for 10 second and then peel while still hot.

Put the eggs into a warm dish and break them up with a fork (the yolks should be runny and the whites solid).

Season with a little pepper and gently fold in the caviar.

Reheat the asparagus in boiled salted water, drain and roll in a little olive oil to make them glossy.

To assemble, put a small dollop of horseradish cream in the centre of each plate, then a smoked salmon round, more horseradish and then the lightly toasted brioche slice. Repeat the layers to finish with two brioches and three smoked salmon rounds on each plate. Arrange the asparagus on top and spoon the egg and caviar mixture around.

 

Asparagus, black olive, goats curd, crispy seeds and nuts

This recipe is by Tristin Farmer – Head Chef at Gordon Ramsay’s Michelin-starred concept, Maze in London. A light dish combining asparagus, toasted seeds and whipped goats cheese – great as a starter or for a main dish, when the warmer summer evenings call for smaller bites.  

Serves 4

 

Ingredients

20 Medium asparagus spears

500g Pitted black olives

500g Goat’s cheese

100mls Double cream

50g Pine nuts

50g Sunflower seeds

50g Pumpkin seeds

50g Nibbed almonds

1 Grapefruit

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

 

Method

Asparagus

Take the asparagus and snap off the bottom (1/3), wash and lightly peel from the tip down.

In a pan of boiling salted water, cook the asparagus until tender (this should take 1-2 minutes).

Refresh cooked asparagus in ice water, once chilled store in the fridge until needed.

 

Olive puree

Wash the olives under warm water to remove excess oil.

Blanch the olives in boiling water for 1 minute.

Blend the olives in a liquidizer or blender until smooth, add a little olive oil if the puree is too thick.

Pass through a fine sieve, chill and store in fridge.

 

Seeds and nuts

Pre heat the oven to 150c

Toast seeds and nuts individually until light golden brown.

Peel and segment grapefruit, cut each segment into small dice.

Mix the warm seed mix with the grapefruit, olive oil and salt. (Add half the grapefruit to taste, add more if required.)

 

Whipped goat’s cheese

Break up the goat’s cheese into small pieces.

In a bowl, slowly add the cream to the goat’s cheese, beat until smooth.

Add salt and pepper to taste

 

Ricotta Gnocchi with Spring Vegetables and Pesto

A recipe taken from chef Ben Tish, Sanja Morris and Simon Mullins’ cookbook The Salt Yard Cookbook: Food from Spain and Italy. Credit goes to chef Jamie Thickett, Head Chef at Salt Yard Group’s Opera Tavern restaurant.

Serves 4 as a main or 6 – 8 as a tapas

 

Ingredients

250g ricotta

2 egg yolks

20g Parmesan, grated

110g Tipo ‘00’ pasta flour

Extra flour for dusting

Sea salt and black pepper

1 large bunch basil, stalk included

50g pine nuts, lightly toasted

25g Parmesan

30g wild garlic or 1 clove garlic, peeled

150ml extra virgin olive oil

16 spears asparagus, trimmed

300g purple sprouting broccoli or

Tender stem, trimmed

100g baby Swiss chard or young

Spinach, trimmed

50g broad beans, fresh or frozen

 

Method

To make the pesto, put the basil, pine nuts, Parmesan and wild garlic (or garlic clove) in a blender. Put the lid on and, gradually adding the olive oil, blend to a puree. Season well.

To make the gnocchi, strain the ricotta for a few minutes in a sieve or through a cloth to remove any excess liquid. Place the ricotta in a bowl and mix in the eggs and Parmesan. Then gradually add the flour, mixing as you go, and season. Place the gnocchi dough on top of a floured work surface. Divide into 4 pieces and roll each piece into a long sausage with the diameter of a 2-pound coin. Cut each length into bite-sized pieces and place on a chopping board or tray so they can easily be tipped into a pan. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and then slide the gnocchi into the bubbling water. They’re cooked when they rise to the surface. Remove from the water with a slotted spoon and place in a dish. Season and keep warm.

Cook the vegetables in a large pan of boiling salted water. Firstly, cook the broccoli for 3 minutes or so until al dente, remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and keep warm. Next add the beans, chard or spinach along with the asparagus and cook for a further 2 – 3 minutes, or until the vegetables are all just cooked through. Drain well in a colander and press lightly to release any excess moisture. Season well and toss together with the reserved broccoli. Ladle out the gnocchi onto serving dishes, top with the vegetables and spoon over the pesto. Serve.

Garnacha Blanca from Spain is a great white variety that will pair harmoniously.

 

Pickled Asparagus | Dan Barber

Ingredients

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup salt

1 qt white wine vinegar

1 qt water

5 garlic cloves

8 fresh dill sprigs

1 Tbsp black pepper corns

2 Bunch asparagus

 

Method

In a medium pot, combine the sugar, salt, vinegar, water, peppercorns and garlic.  Bring to a simmer.

Meanwhile, trim the woody ends off the asparagus.  Rinse asparagus well under cold water and place in a large non-reative container along with the sprigs of dill.

Pour hot pickle brine over the aspragus and allow to stand uncovered until the brine has cooled down.  Cover and place in the refrigerator.  

Allow to pickle for at least 1 week before eating.  Pickles will last in the fridge for up to 6 months.

 

Asparagus and Chervil Quiche | Tom Aikens

Ingredients

1kg of asparagus, peeled and cut into 6-8 cm lengths 

140g of Parma ham

1 handful of chopped chervil

1 pinch of chopped chives

100g of spring onions, chopped

350g of mascarpone

2 eggs

4 egg yolks

0.5 tsp of salt

1 pinch of black pepper

400g of plain flour, plus extra for dusting 

200g of butter, cold and diced, plus extra for greasing

1 pinch of salt

1 egg

1 egg yolk, for brushing the pastry

Ice cold water

 

Equipment

23cm loose-bottomed tart tin

Food mixer

Baking beans

Pastry brush

 

Method

Place the flour into a bowl with the salt and the diced butter. Transfer into a food mixer set to a low setting and mix until like fine breadcrumbs - about 1 minute. Alternatively, you could rub the mixture between your thumb and forefinger until it resembles breadcrumbs.

Add the egg and then add the iced water, little by little, until the dough comes together (it should not be too dry, otherwise it will just crumble when you roll it out). Place the dough in cling film and transfer to the fridge to rest for 30 minutes.

When the dough is ready to roll out, preheat the oven to 180ºC/gas mark 4, and grease and flour your quiche tin. Roll out the pastry to a 0.5cm thickness and lay this into the tin. Line the pastry with a sheet of foil and fill with baking beans.

Blind bake the pastry with the baking beans in the oven for 20 minutes, or until the pastry achieves a light golden colour. Remove the baking beans and foil, and brush the base of the tart case with egg yolk. Bake for a further 5 minutes, then remove from the oven. Allow the pastry to cool while you make the filling.

Reduce the oven temperature to 170C/gas mark 3.

Blanch the asparagus in boiling salted water for 3 minutes and then refresh in iced water for two minutes. Drain and dry well.

Mix the chervil, chives, mascarpone, spring onion, eggs, egg yolks, salt and pepper in a bowl and set aside.

Lay the asparagus spears in the cooled pastry tart, pointing outwards in a circular pattern, then lay the ham in between the asparagus. Pour on the chervil and mascarpone mix.

Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, until it is light brown and firm to touch in the centre. Allow to cool to room temperature, slice and then serve.

 

Shaved Asparagus and Fennel with Aged Caerphilly | Mark Hix

Serves 4

 

Ingredients

4–6 thick or 8–10 medium very fresh asparagus spears

1 young head of fennel, trimmed, a few feathery tops reserved

a handful of small salad leaves, such as buckler leaf sorrel, land cress etc.

salt and freshly ground black pepper

70–80g good-quality aged Caerphilly cheese, such as Gorwydd

For the dressing

grated zest and juice of 1/2 lemon

4–5 tbsp cold-pressed rapeseed oil

 

Method

Cut off the woody ends of the asparagus and peel the lower end of the stalks. Using a mandolin or very sharp knife, cut the asparagus on the diagonal into very fine slices.

Halve the fennel and, again, using a mandolin or very sharp knife, slice the fennel as thinly as possible and place in a bowl with the asparagus.

Shake the ingredients for the dressing together in a screw-topped jar and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add the leaves and feathery fennel tops to the asparagus and fennel and season lightly. Toss with the dressing and arrange on plates. Shave the cheese with a small, sharp knife or a vegetable peeler and scatter over the salad.

 

Seared White Aparagus, Citrus and Sabayon | Alain Ducasse

Serves 4

 

Ingredients

18 White asparagus (size +26)

8 Kumquats

50 g Sugar

50 g Water

2 Kumquats

Icing sugar

1 Orange

1 Grapefruit

Make segments out of the fruits, dice them.

Orange syrup

30cl Fresh orange juice (300g)

Olive oil

3 Egg yolks

1 Dry orange skin

150g Butter

 5cl Water

 

Method

Kumquats confits

Make a syrup with the sugar and the water.

Cut the kumquats in half and take off all the seeds, add them to the syrup and bring them to boil.

Remove from heat and leave to cold down on the side. Give them some colour in a pan for the service.  

Kumquats crisps

Slice the kumquats finely on the slicer.

Remove the seeds and put on a silpat dusted with icing sugar.

Dry in a hot cabinet at 70C for around 3 hours, until they get crispy

Citrus

Put the juice in the pan, boil and reduce it down, skim it constantly.

When reduced to syrup, pass and chill it.

Add some olive oil.

Sabayon

Put the egg yolks and the water in a pan. Add some salt and slowly cook skimming with a whip until it gets a ribbon texture. Mix the orange skin into powder. Add 1/3 to the sabayon. Add 1 table spoon of orange syrup. Peel the asparagus and boil 16 of them in salted water. Cook until they are still a little crunchy. Fry them 2 minutes in a pan with butter to get a nice colour. Finely slice the 2 remaining asparagus into 0.5mm thick slices. Add some olive oil, salt and pepper.

Dressing

In a plate, draw a large comma of sabayon. Add the diced citrus all around the plate. Pour some orange syrup. Place 4 asparagus on the sabayon. Add some slices of raw asparagus.  Add 4 halves of kumquat confits and 4 kumquat crisps.

 

Asparagus | Martyn Meid

Ingredients

Asparagus

4 asparagus

2 tbsp of olive  oil

2g  of butter

6 g of rock salt

300g of boiling water

 

Asparagus dressing

shavings from asparagus

100g cider vinegar

30g of honey

5 g of brown sugar  

20g of olive oil

2 g of  fresh dill

5 g of shallots

10g of ice water

2 soft quail eggs

Black ground peppers

Salt

 

Powder

10g of parmesan

10g of mint oill

Maltodextrin

 

Lemon Dressing

1 garlic clove crushed

1 tbsp of lemon juice

1 tbsp of home made

20ml of grape seed oil

2g of lemon zests

 

Method

Toasted Walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Arrange walnuts on a sheet, in a single layer. Bake for 6 - 8 min, checking frequently.


Asparagus

Shave the asparagus gently, keeping them uniform and saving the shavings.

Boil the water in a pan. Add butter and olive oil in the same pan. Once the water has boiled, drop the asparagus into the pan and cook for 2 min. Once cooked for 2 minutes, remove from the pan and add to a pan of ice water for 2 minutes.

Asparagus dressing

Using a Thermomix, add all the ingredients and choose the temperature 60 degrees. Add 4 mint leaves. Once mixed, put in a dressing bottle.

Powder

Manually whisk the mint oil, parmesan  and Maltodextrin. Place the mix in a blender and blend for a few seconds. Stop the blender and shake it. Blend again, shake and continue repeating this process until you obtain a fluffy consistency.

Lemon Dressing

Add all ingredients blend together. If it’s not runny enough, just add a drop of cold water.

 

The Secret Garden

This recipe is by Salvatore Calabrese of Sal’s at Playboy Club London. Salvatore has been named one of the world’s best mixologist – and rightly so when he makes the usually savoury asparagus fit so well into a semi-sweet summertime cocktail.

 

Ingredients

1 fresh asparagus

50ml Bacardi

20ml Pear Puree

25ml Fresh Lime Juice

20ml Falernum

1 barspoon of Honey

 

Method

Shake and double strain in a coupette.