British asparagus season is here, and last week I was gifted with some beautiful British asparagus from the Waitrose Summer Party, an event celebrating British food and farming, which I was thrilled to be invited to. It was also attended by the glitterati of the food world - including Heston Blumenthal, Raymond Blanc, Marcus Wareing, Pippa Middleton (well she does write for Waitrose Kitchen magazine you know!)
It was held at the fantastical setting in the central hall of the Natural History Museum, complete with a replica Diplodocus skeleton! The canapes were quite amazing too - including - little puffs of beetroot meringues, asparagus in edible soil, rhubarb & custard macarons, and chocolate shells with fruity mousse.
And Paloma Faith entertained us! All in all, it was a fabulous evening, Waitrose certainly know how to throw a party that's for sure!
Anyway, back to the asparagus - it's not around for long so try and make the most of it. Look for firm green spears with tight crisp tips, and wash the asparagus thoroughly to remove any grit from them. Snap off the woody ends if your asparagus has them and very lightly steam, boil or roast them.
Here's a recipe that I really like, because you can roast or cook the asparagus how you prefer, and then just heat it through under the grill while the topping is crisping up.
Asparagus with Breadcrumbs, Parmesan & Chilli
Adapted from Food Blogga
The amounts for the topping are just a guide, you can add more chilli, Parmesan etc. Cook the asparagus using your preferred method, I blanched mine for about 3-4 minutes as I like it fairly firm.
1 bundle of asparagus
3 tablespoons fresh bread crumbs
Zest of 1 lemon
1 red chilli pepper, finely chopped or a pinch of chilli flakes
2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
2-3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
A knob of unsalted butter
In a small bowl, mix the fresh breadcrumbs, lemon zest, finely chopped chilli pepper (or chilli flakes), parsley and Parmesan cheese. Add a little salt and pepper to taste. Mix well and set aside until you need it.
Cook the asparagus (roast, grill, steam or boil it) until done to your liking. Place it into an oven proof dish and sprinkle the topping over. Dot with a little unsalted butter and pop under a hot grill for a few minutes until the topping is turning golden brown.
Another fab asparagus recipe you might like is baked asparagus with Parmesan.
Here's a few pics from the Waitrose Summer Party:
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