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Posts Tagged ‘Asparagus’

Asparagus & Prosciutto soup

Another favourite from the River Café where the prosciutto gives a big addition to the flavour. Serve with a few asparagus tips and top quality olive oil on top. Delicious!

Wine suggestion: Sauvignon Blanc with bags of  flavour. Something like the Dog Point from New Zealand or the Dezat Sancerre from the Loire will work great. Going slightly off-piste we love the Domaine Bellier Cheverny Blanc which combines 85% Sauvignon Blanc with Chardonnay in a un-sung appellation from the Loire, a really good food wine.

Asparagus & prosciutto soup – serves 4

  • 500g asparagus
  • 140g prosciutto slices, sliced into thin ribbons
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 2cm cubes
  • 140g spinach
  • Marigold Swiss bouillon powder dissolved with 750ml of boiling water
  • 2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
  • extra virgin olive oil

Snap the woody ends off the asparagus and cut the remaining stalks into short lengths. Keep the tips to one side.

Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a heavy-based pan, add the onion and soften for 5 minutes, then add the prosciutto, potatoes, parsley and asparagus stalks. Season with pepper (hold off on the salt until the end as the ham is salty) and cook for 5 minutes, stirring, then add the bouillon and simmer until the potatoes and asparagus are tender – about 15 minutes. Add the spinach and most of the asparagus tips and cook for a another few minutes. Remove from the heat and blend to a rough purée.

Heat 3 tbsp of olive oil and fry the reserved tips for a few seconds. Serve the soup with the asparagus and oil drizzled over each bowl.

(Original recipe from Italian Two Easy by Rose Gray & Ruth Rogers, Clarkson Potter, 2006.)

 

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Pasta Primavera

This was tasty. We were a bit concerned about the boiled onion at first but it gives a nice onion flavour without any fried taste which isn’t required here with the light creamy sauce. Good for a weeknight or weekend lunch.

Pasta Primavera – serves 4-6

  • 1 red pepper, halved and deseeded
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 225g asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2.5cm lengths
  • 100g sugarsnap peas, sliced in half lengthways
  • 300g dried penne
  • 100ml double cream
  • 60g Parmesan cheese, coarsely grated
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 25g toasted pine nuts
  • 1 tbsp torn fresh basil leaves

Put the pepper halves under a hot grill, skin side up, for around 10 minutes or until the skin is completely charred. Seal in a plastic bag and leave to cool, then peel and discard the skin. Slice the flesh into large pieces.

Cook the chopped onion in a pan of salted boiling water for 9 minutes, then add the asparagus. Cook for another minute before adding the sugarsnaps and continue to boil for another 2 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water.

Cook the penne in a large pan of salted boiling water for the recommended time on the pack, then return to the pan with the cooled vegetables. Add the roasted pepper, cream and cheese and stir over a gentle heat to warm through. Season well with sea salt and black pepper.

Squeeze over the lemon and scatter over the pine nuts and basil to serve.

(Original recipe from Mary Berry’s Cookery Course, DK, 2013.)

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Warm asparagus & new potato salad

We made this back in June when local asparagus was available, but have been very lax getting posts up on the blog (must do better!). We really enjoyed the combination here and  the addition of our own, home-grown mint, dill and chives really made the dish sing.

Warm Asparagus & New Potato Salad – serves 4

  • 350g small Jersey potatoes, scrubbed or peeled if you prefer
  • salt
  • 2 large mint sprigs
  • 25g unsalted butter
  • 250g asparagus tips
  • hearts of 2 round lettuces, leaves separated, washed and dried
  • Maldon salt
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, shelled
  • handful of chervil sprigs – we used dill

FOR THE BUTTER SAUCE: 

  • juice of 1 lemon
  • pinch of caster sugar
  • 75g cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
  • freshly ground white pepper
  • 1 tbsp snipped chives

Simmer the potatoes in lightly salted water, with the mint, until tender. Drain over a bowl and reserve the cooking water. Return the potatoes to the pan with the butter, stir together and keep warm.

For the sauce, use a large shallow stainless steel or enamel saucepan and squeeze in the lemon juice. Add 6 tbsp of the potato cooking water and the sugar, then simmer until reduced by half. Slowly incorporate the butter, a chunk at a time, whisking over a very low heat until homogenous (you’re aiming for a light butter sauce). Season with white pepper and keep warm.

Peel the asparagus tips from just below the bud and slice in half lengthways. Add to a pan of boiling well-salted water and boil for about 1-2 minutes – you want them just tender but not raw, then drain.

Slice the warm potatoes and add them, along with the asparagus, to the butter sauce. Turn gently with the chives, until everything is nicely coated.

Arrange the lettuce on 4 plates and divide the asparagus and potatoes between them. Sprinkle with Maldon salt and grate over the egg. Generously scatter with the chervil or dill.

(Original recipe from The Vegetarian Option by Simon Hopkinson, Quadrille, 2009.)

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Rosemary roast chicken thighs, asparagus & new potatoes

A weeknight treat to celebrate the new season’s bounty.

Wine Suggestion: We had a glass of the Domaine St Denis Macon-Lugny, a superb chardonnay from the Mâconnais in Burgundy and from the only grower-winemaker in this village (the rest goes to the co-op). Excellent flavours and a nutty depth marry well with the fresh, new season flavours and roasted chicken; a good choice.

Rosemary Roast Chicken Thighs with Asparagus & New Potatoes – serves 4

  • 750g small new potatoes, halved
  • 2 large bunches of asparagus, discard the woody ends
  • 1 whole bulb of garlic, cloves separated
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • small handful of rosemary sprigs
  • 8 chicken thighs

Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.

Put the potatoes, asparagus, garlic cloves and olive oil into a large roasting tray and season well. Squeeze over the juice from the lemon halves, then cut into chunks and add to the tray. Toss together well, cover with foil and roast for about 15 minutes.

Remove the foil and stir through the rosemary.

Season the chicken thighs and arrange in the dish in a single layer.

Now roast for 30-50 minutes or until the potatoes are tender and the chicken is crisp and cooked through (this will depend on the size of your potatoes and chicken thighs).

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

 

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We have been waiting for asparagus season to start and this dish seemed an appropriate celebration. Basque inspiration but completely at home in Ireland with every ingredient in season and locally sourced which we are passionately in favour of.

This recipe uses the tips of asparagus but we suggest buying the whole thing and cutting the tips off at home (instead of the pre pack tips). The remaining asparagus stalks are great steamed or blanched the next day for breakfast with a nice boiled or poached egg 🙂

Merluza a la koxkera – serves 4

  • 4 x 175-200g pieces of skinned hake fillet, 2 – 2.5cm thick
  • 200g asparagus tips (8cm long)
  • 250g peas
  • plain flour for dusting + 1 tbsp for the sauce
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 100g shallot, finely chopped
  • 175ml dry white wine
  • 100ml fish stock
  • 250g small clams (or a few extra of your pot will fit them)
  • 1 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Season both sides of the hake pieces generously with salt and set aside for 10-15 minutes.

Meanwhile drop the asparagus tips into a pan of boiling, salted water and cook for 2 minutes. Add the peas and when it reaches the boil again drain and refresh under cold water. Leave to drain.

Pat hake pieces to remove excess moisture and then dust with flour and shake off any excess. Heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil over a medium-high heat in a large frying pan (big enough to fit your 4 hake pieces). Add hake and fry for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown on outside, but not quite cooked through. Lift out onto a plate and set aside.

Wipe frying pan clean and add 2 tablespoons of oil, the garlic and shallots. Fry over a medium heat for 3 minutes, or until soft and lightly golden. Stir in the 1 tablespoon of flour and then gradually stir in the wine and stock to make a smooth sauce.

Bring to a simmer and return the hake to the pan and cook for 1 minute. Add the clams, cover and cook for 2-3 minutes until all the clams are opened and the fish is cooked through. Uncover and scatter over the asparagus, peas and parsley. Simmer for a minute or two until the vegetables are warmed through. Taste for seasoning and serve.

Wine suggestion: As this is of Basque origin we could suggest a Txakoli, a Basque white wine. If this is difficult to find try a Semillon-Sauvignon Blanc blend, like from Bordeaux which has good freshness and crispness but also the body and structure to stand up to the flavours of the dish.

Inspiration from: Rick Stein’s Spain, BBC Books 2011

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