Ways with asparagus

Asparagus season started here in early April and is set to continue until the end of May. White asparagus is more common in France and I buy ours direct from the farm up the road. They’re so fresh and tender that I don’t even need to cut the ends off.

Asparagus can be roasted with olive oil and rock salt for about 15/20 minutes, steamed, cooked in simmering water (15 minutes) or even microwaved (although I wouldn’t personally recommend this and I hate microwaves and ours ‘mysteriously’ died an undignified death at the rubbish dump).

One of the classic ways to eat asparagus is with a Hollandaise sauce (very topical at the moment!), which is quite tricky to make but very rewarding if you succeed (good luck!)

Asparagus can be grilled with parma ham (or probably Bayonne ham if you live here!) and parmesan, which is a delicious combination. A great favourite in this area is asparagus omelette, which is a mouth-watering combination of corn-fed chicken eggs, butter and tender aspargus tips. Be sure not to overcook the omelette – the inside should still be slightly runny.

Another traditional way to serve them here is ‘au gratin’. Make a well-seasoned béchamel sauce and then fold in the asparagus and if you like, some ham. Cover the top with grated cheese and a dot of butter. Bake in a hot oven (200°C) until the top is crispy and golden.

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