I’m not usually a slave to eating locally or seasonally. If I want a lemon I will have it and I eat a banana most days. The one vegetable I wait for every year though is asparagus. I refuse to eat tasteless stuff imported from Peru when English asparagus is probably the best in the world (I think any Germans reading this may take issue with me over that one!). Unfortunately though, it’s a really short season so I try and make the most of it while I can.
Here are my first 2 uses for asparagus this season.
The first use was the asparagus pizza from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Veg book. The asparagus isn’t cooked at all before it goes on the pizza so it’s important to use really fine asparagus and nothing at all woody or stringy. I used mostly Daiya on the top, which I get brought back from America and keep in the freezer for pizza, and mixed in some of the new Cheezly parmesan, grated on my microplane. I liked Hugh’s pizza crust a lot and the asparagus was the star of the show.
The second dish came from Yotam Ottolenghi’s book Plenty, but the recipe also featured in his Guardian column here. Instead of the cheese in the recipe I used some cubed avocado for the creaminess and some very finely grated lemon zest for the sharpness. The watercress pesto in this dish is an absolute delight and freshens up the earthy green lentils. I served this for dinner with some steamed baby Jersey Royal potatoes which fortuitously share the same growing season as asparagus.