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Simon’s Asparagus Tips

It is time to enjoy freshly cut Sussex Asparagus from Chrissy, Arron, Sarah and their team at South Brockwell Farm near Uckfield

Asparagus pairs well with salty flavours. Green asparagus has a stronger nuttier flavour than white asparagus which has a slightly bitter finish (think chicory!!).

To prepare asparagus simply find the spot near the bottom of the stem where it snaps easily if bent. Chefs trim the woody bit off and pare the bottom of the shoot with a potato peeler.

Steamed asparagus with butter is best accompanied by a grassy NZ sauvignon blanc or a Bacchus from Bolney.

Blanch or boil – cooking time will vary according to stem thickness, think no longer than 6 minutes. Always add to boiling salted water. Drain – then add butter or a dash of walnut oil. If serving later – say in a salad – refresh with loads of cold water to bring the temperature down as quickly as possible. Save the boiling water and the trimmings to form the base of a stock for your next asparagus risotto!

Char-grilled asparagus -use fat stems (6-9mins on hot coals). First brush with butter or a good oil (walnut is perfect). Char-grilling lends a slightly more intense flavour and would go well with an Italian Pinot Bianco, Leonardslee or a dry Spanish Rosé

Roast Asparagus – use fat stems- has the most intense flavour and is delicious with a light unoaked pinot noir – from Bolney or New Zealand, or a Loire Valley red like Saumur – Champigny

Pair Asparagus with

Dairy produce – especially parmesan, strong cheddar, salted butter. Great with a salty blue like Brighton Blue. Try a local dry cider

Eggs – Poached, Soft boiled – in omelettes, frittatas, and quiches add shaved truffles. Or simply serve with Hollandaise or Mayonnaise. Accompany with Non- vintage Champagne, new world sparkling Chardonnay

Pig – Asparagus is delicious with salty, sweet pork, bacon and cured ham. Eat with a claret from Saint Emilion

Shellfish – add prawns, crab or scallops, try with a nice Muscadet-sur-lie or a glass of Chapel Down’s English Rose (sparkling rosé)

Strawberries – yes even strawberries with a balsamic dressing – accompany with a Sangiovese based wine like Chianti

Herbs – dill and tarragon are particularly good partners, liquorice too, try a Loire Valley sauvignon

Citrus – asparagus loves citrus juice and zest – lemon is best for me but if pairing with beetroot and soft cheese say, try orange.

Rice, potatoes, pasta and pastry. Neutral cheap staples form great partners for Asparagus. Try a Shiraz or Syrah

Some suggestions:

  • Asparagus & pea risotto – serve with Vermentino, Verdicchio or Pinot Grigio
  • Asparagus with penne rigate, chilli & feta or with linguine, lemon & peas
  • Chicken and asparagus pie or mushroom and asparagus pie
  • Asparagus brunch with duck egg, bacon, Hollandaise, grilled tomato and brioche bun
  • Asparagus & breakfast radish with brown butter, or asparagus and chive omelette
  • Asparagus & Jersey Royals with butter and wild garlic
  • Simon

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