Monday, 19 April 2010

The first asparagus


At Brixton farmers’ market yesterday, rootling around in the sunshine for something other than cabbage and kale, I spotted, much like a pointer, bunches of the first early English asparagus. I had, I have to admit, been a little sceptical when they announced on Saturday Kitchen that the first asparagus was available; what with the long winter and the tiny problem of a volcanic cloud of ash blighting our skies, I hadn’t expected to be living off much more than greens and turnips for another couple of weeks, but hey, what do I know.

At £3.50 a bunch – not cheap, but hello it’s not cabbage – you have to be determined to make the most of it. I had, for reasons now unfathomable in hindsight given the weekend weather reports, defrosted a sirloin of beef for roasting for Sunday dinner; with the asparagus to bear in mind the whole had to become instantly spring-like. I roasted the joint of beef rare – you do have to bear leftovers in mind and who in their right mind can bear overcooked cold beef?, roasted some par-boiled Pink Fir Apple potatoes in rosemary and garlic and olive oil, briefly boiled some purple sprouting and tossed it in butter and melted anchovies and put together a tomato salad, dressed in nothing but olive oil and salt with some sorrel from the garden and wild garlic snipped up and scattered on top. The asparagus I did our favourite way and roasted it in the oven with a little oil and salt and then shaved a tiny bit of Parmesan over.

With the leftover beef, I had planned to make, to quote Nigel Slater, a ‘knife-sharp, groovy’ green sauce, but I came across the following from Rose Prince this morning and I shall make this dressing to drizzle over the beef, some leftover potatoes cubed and sauté ed until crisp like croutons, pea shoots, fennel, tomatoes and sorrel for this evening.

A winter sauce: (quantities don’t have to be exact but it needs to be consistency of double cream)

Mix together a couple of tbsp mayonnaise, 2-3 tbsp chicken stock to thin, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco and a good dollop of mustard to taste and season.


A22laynaGainer1104 said...


Anonymous said...

Screw Brixton farmers market.. go to the actual market. Amazing fresh fish and vegetables.
And herbs.
And spices.

Jo said...

Ah but freedom to actually go to market at all exists usually only on a Sunday... Otherwise I agree with you.