Spear a fork­ful

Spring into a plate of fresh as­para­gus with these zesty dishes

Nadia - - CONTENTS -

Neat stooks of as­para­gus at the vege shop mean just one thing: spring is here and light, fresh flavours are back with a bang. Here I’ve used the spears in a va­ri­ety of ways, from an easy rus­tic tart and a hearty salad

(both great ex­tras at a bar­bie) to a light and tasty vege risotto, fill­ing don­buri and a spe­cial eggs Bene so you can make the most of their short-lived abun­dance.

As­para­gus, chicken, egg & new potato salad with herb dress­ing

Ready in 30 min­utes | Serves 2 | DF | GF 350g (10-16) baby new po­ta­toes (use any va­ri­ety, or a mix­ture is nice) 1 bunch as­para­gus, trimmed, spears cut in half ½ small red onion, thinly sliced 1½ tsp capers 1 roast chicken leg or breast, meat shred­ded 2 hand­fuls baby salad leaves 2 soft or hard-boiled eggs, peeled and halved HERB DRESS­ING ¼ cup chopped flat-leaf pars­ley ¼ cup mint leaves 3-4 Tbsp chopped dill 3 an­chovies Juice ½ lemon 3 Tbsp ex­tra vir­gin olive oil

1 Cut any larger po­ta­toes in half so that they are all roughly the same size. Place po­ta­toes in a pot with a good pinch of salt, cover with wa­ter and bring to the boil. Cook for about 10 min­utes or un­til just ten­der. Add as­para­gus to pot for the last 1-2 min­utes of cook­ing time to lightly cook un­til bright green.

2 Com­bine all herb dress­ing in­gre­di­ents in a blender or crush to­gether in a mor­tar and pes­tle. Sea­son to taste with salt and pep­per.

3 Drain po­ta­toes and as­para­gus and toss with red onion, capers, chicken and three-quar­ters of the herb dress­ing.

4 Ar­range salad leaves on plates, top with potato mix­ture and egg halves. Spoon re­main­ing dress­ing on top and sea­son with freshly cracked black pep­per.

As­para­gus, sun­dried tomato, olive & goat’s cheese tarts

Ready in 35 min­utes | Serves 4 2 square sheets puff pas­try 2 bunches as­para­gus, trimmed Ex­tra vir­gin olive oil, for driz­zling ½ cup roughly chopped sun­dried toma­toes 8-10 olives, pit­ted, cut in half 100g soft goat’s cheese or feta Rocket and pear salad, to serve (op­tional) 1 Pre­heat oven to 220°C.

2 Cut pas­try sheets in half so you have 4 rec­tan­gles. Use a blunt knife to gen­tly score a 1cm bor­der around each one.

3 Ar­range as­para­gus spears on each rec­tan­gle, driz­zle with ex­tra vir­gin olive oil and sea­son with salt and pep­per. Bake on a large bak­ing pa­per-lined oven tray for 20-25 min­utes or un­til pas­try is puffed and golden. Half­way through cook­ing, sprin­kle sun­dried toma­toes, olives and cheese on top and re­turn to oven. (You may need to use 2 trays. If so, swap the trays over on the shelves when you add the toma­toes etc, so the pas­try puffs up equally; the tarts may also need an ex­tra 5-10 min­utes of cook­ing time.)

4 These tarts are de­li­cious served with a salad of rocket and thinly sliced pear.

As­para­gus & pea risotto

Ready in 45 min­utes | Serves 3-4 | GF 1 Tbsp olive oil 2 large knobs but­ter 1 small onion, finely chopped 250g carnaroli or ar­bo­rio rice ½ cup dry white wine 3 cups chicken or veg­etable stock* 1 bunch as­para­gus, trimmed, chopped 1 cup frozen baby peas, de­frosted 1 Tbsp chopped dill 2 Tbsp finely chopped pars­ley Juice ½ lemon ¾ cup grated parme­san, plus ex­tra to gar­nish Pea shoots, to gar­nish (op­tional)

1 Heat olive oil and 1 knob of but­ter in a large, heavy-based fry­ing pan or saucepan on low-medium heat. Add onion and sweat gen­tly, with a good pinch of salt, un­til soft (about 6 min­utes).

2 Add rice to pan, toss and stir to coat in but­ter, oil and onion, and con­tinue stir­ring for a fur­ther 2 min­utes. Add wine and al­low to bub­ble for 1-2 min­utes un­til most of it has evap­o­rated.

3 Add stock, stir, cover with a lid and cook on low-medium heat for about 20 min­utes, lift­ing lid and stir­ring every 5 min­utes or so, un­til stock has been ab­sorbed and rice is ten­der. If you think it’s needed, add an­other ½-1 cup stock to loosen. Stir through as­para­gus and cook for a fur­ther 2 min­utes. Stir through peas, dill, pars­ley, lemon juice, re­main­ing but­ter and parme­san. Sea­son to taste.

4 Spoon into bowls and top with ex­tra parme­san and pea shoots (if us­ing).

As­para­gus & chorizo eggs Bene with av­o­cado hol­landaise

Ready in 20 min­utes | Serves 2 | DF Olive oil, for cook­ing 100g chorizo, diced or sliced 1 bunch as­para­gus, trimmed 4 fresh free-range eggs 4 muf­fin splits or slices whole­grain bread** But­ter or ex­tra vir­gin oil, for spread­ing/driz­zling Pars­ley, basil or wa­ter­cress, to gar­nish AV­O­CADO HOL­LANDAISE Flesh 1 ripe av­o­cado Juice ½ lemon 3 Tbsp ex­tra vir­gin olive oil

1 Make hol­landaise by blend­ing ev­ery­thing to­gether, adding 1 Tbsp wa­ter at a time un­til smooth. Sea­son to taste with salt and set aside. Fill a medium fry­ing pan two-thirds full with boil­ing wa­ter and bring to a sim­mer.

2 Heat a lit­tle driz­zle of olive oil in an­other fry­ing pan over medium heat. Add chorizo and cook for a few min­utes or un­til cooked and fat has ren­dered out. Spoon out chorizo, leav­ing any fat in the pan; set aside. Add as­para­gus to pan and cook un­til just ten­der (about 2 min­utes).

3 As as­para­gus cooks, care­fully crack eggs into sim­mer­ing wa­ter and gen­tly poach for about 2 min­utes or un­til whites are just set and yolks are still runny. Re­move with a slot­ted spoon.

4 Toast muf­fin splits/bread in toaster and spread with but­ter or driz­zle with ex­tra vir­gin olive oil.

5 Top with eggs and as­para­gus, spoon over hol­landaise and sprin­kle with chorizo. Add a grind of pep­per and gar­nish with herbs.

Av­o­cado, as­para­gus & sal­mon don­buri

Ready in 25 min­utes plus mar­i­nat­ing time | Serves 2 | DF | GF 2 Tbsp soy sauce*, plus ex­tra to sea­son rice 1 Tbsp brown sugar or honey 2 cloves gar­lic, sliced 300-350g bone­less, skin­less sal­mon fil­let 1 bunch as­para­gus, trimmed, chopped Oil, for cook­ing


2 cups steamed brown or sushi rice 1 firm ripe av­o­cado, sliced 1 sheet dried nori sea­weed, finely sliced 1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds Pick­led ginger*

1 Mix soy sauce, brown sugar or honey and gar­lic in a medium dish. Add sal­mon fil­let and turn to coat. Leave to mar­i­nate in fridge for as long as you can – ide­ally for 4-6 hours but 30 min­utes will do. 2 Steam brown or sushi rice then sea­son to taste with a lit­tle soy sauce.

3 Place as­para­gus in a heat­proof bowl and cover with boil­ing wa­ter. Leave for 2-3 min­utes un­til bright green and just ten­der, then drain.

4 Heat a driz­zle of oil in a fry­ing pan and cook mar­i­nated sal­mon fil­let for about 2 min­utes on each side un­til just cooked through.

5 Spoon rice into bowls, top with flakes of sal­mon, av­o­cado and as­para­gus and sprin­kle with nori and sesame seeds. Serve • with pick­led ginger. * Check la­bel if eat­ing gluten free ** Check la­bel if eat­ing dairy free

CRED­ITS Din­ner plate (eggs Bene) and green wa­ter jug from A&C Home­store. Green ta­ble and books from Junk & Dis­or­derly. Other items stylist’s own.

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