In May this year, following a memorable visit to London’s Chelsea Flower Show, RHS Wisley, Hidcote, Daylesford and various theatre and gallery outings, we had lunch at Petersham Nurseries . It was impressive – simple, seasonal, perfectly prepared and presented. Paul and I ordered the asparagus starter – served simply with boiled eggs, a capsicum and chilli coulis and sprinkled with edibles. So fresh and full of flavour … truly delicious. Inspired, I came home and planted more asparagus in the garden. You have to wait for a few years to get a good crop, but once established your crowns will deliver daily delights each Spring for 20 years or more. There is nothing like the taste of those spears cut early in the morning and poached quickly for the breakfast plate. Just add butter. Don’t mess around with asparagus … it’s paradise just on its own if picked fresh. And then overnight, as if by magic, up they come again, little lovely fat spears waiting to be cut again the following day. I’ll never forget one year at Country Trader‘s very swanky Christmas party there were giant bowls of asparagus in the most extravagant display I’d ever seen … voluminous bunches accompanied by Hollandaise sauce. Dip, sip, dip, sip. Bollinger Champagne and fresh, warm asparagus … heaven!
So whether you’re growing your own or buying from the local Farmers Markets here’s what goes well with asparagus, as advised in Stephanie Alexander’s Cook’s Companion: