Saturday, 2 May 2009

the asparagus rush ...

Tis the season. Asparagus prospectors can be seen at weekend farmers markets and making illicit lunchtime trips to the grocer, scouring stalls for the purple-green glint of the spears. I am no exception. The British asparagus season begins, by tradition, on the 23rd April. Having been marathoning last weekend, today was my first opportunity to join in the fun. Rather than jostling with the bugaboos on Northcote Road I headed to Raynsford's on Battersea High Street who didn't disappoint.

As with peas, the longer you leave between picking and eating asparagus, the more of the sugars will have turned to starch. This is one of the many reasons to buy British asparagus, and an excellent excuse for eating it as quickly as possible.

There are many wonderful things you can do with asparagus, usually the simpler the better. The below was today's chosen route. River cobbler is a sustainable white fish from Vietnam. I'm well aware that for someone who refused to buy Spanish tomatoes the other day fish all the way from Asia is faintly ridiculous. Little by little I am trying, I promise.

Grilled asparagus with prosciutto and river cobbler

big bunch of asparagus
2 fillets river cobbler (or one large one cut in half)

Asparagus spears are sold longer than you need them, the woody ends should be taken off before cooking. There is a lovely trick here which enables you to remove just the right amount - just bend them and the spears snap in the right place. Magic.

Once you've finished being delighted by the simple beauty of snapping each spear, wrap little bundles of them with a strip of prosciutto, three or four stalks in each.

The next steps aren't rocket science ... hot griddle pan, about 7 minutes on each side. I made a little tent of foil over the top to enable the asparagus to steam a little as well as grill, grilling the fish in the other side of the same pan. We ate this with lovely Maltese new potatoes.

I love it when a plan comes together.

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