Look for firm, green spears with tight, crisp tips
British asparagus season is here! From 24th April to about the 21st of June, you can enjoy the best asparagus in the world, and I came across one of the best recipes for it in the universe! I found it in The Times Magazine from chef Jeremy Lee, baked asparagus with Parmesan. The asparagus is wrapped in feuilles de brick, a Tunisian pastry similar to filo which you can find in packs of ten sheets at Waitrose.
Wrapped Baked Asparagus with Parmesan
Recipe adapted from Jeremy Lee
The original recipe says to boil the asparagus spears furiously until tender, but I think it's better to just blanch the asparagus for up to half a minute (depending on the thickness) as it's then going to be baked for 7-8 minutes and I prefer it to remain crisp.
20 asparagus spears
1 packet feuilles de brick (or sub with filo pastry)
100g unsalted butter, melted
35g freshly grated Parmesan
A few sprinkles of chilli flakes - optional - my little addition
Sea salt and freshly milled pepper
Peel the stalks if the asparagus is tough skinned. Bring a large pot of water to the boil and blanch the asparagus for up to half a minute or so. Remove from the boiling water and lay on a plate to cool.
Open the pastry sheets and remove one at a time from the packet. Cut in half and brush lightly with butter. Sprinkle on the Parmesan, a few chilli flakes if using and season with salt and pepper. Lay a spear of asparagus along the edge of the pastry and roll it as tightly as possible. Place on a baking tray, you may need a couple of trays. Repeat with the remaining asparagus and place the trays in the fridge while you warm up the oven. These can be done in advance, just cover with clingfilm and leave in the fridge until you need them.
Place the trays into the hot oven and bake for about 7-8 minutes until golden brown. Pile the spears on a plate and grate fresh Parmesan all over and serve straight away.
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