HOW TO SUR­VIVE A GLUT OF... AS­PARA­GUS

NZ Gardener - Garden Diary 2018 - - Harvest Recipes -

EASY CROSTINI WITH AS­PARA­GUS & PEA PUREE is a de­li­cious spring treat. This recipe makes 12.

INGREDIENTS • 1 bunch as­para­gus • 100g fresh peas • ¼ cup may­on­naise • ½ cup crème fraîche • 1 lemon, juice and zest • 1 clove gar­lic, finely chopped • 1 tea­spoon Di­jon mus­tard • 70g finely grated Parme­san cheese, plus ex­tra to serve • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper • 1 cia­batta-style loaf, sliced into 12 • ex­tra vir­gin olive oil, or av­o­cado oil • 1 clove gar­lic

METHOD To make the purée, cook as­para­gus, drain and pat dry. Re­serve 12 as­para­gus tips and a hand­ful of peas as a gar­nish. Us­ing a food pro­ces­sor, blend the re­main­ing as­para­gus and peas with the may­on­naise, crème fraîche, lemon juice and zest, gar­lic and mus­tard un­til smooth. Fold in the Parme­san and sea­son to taste.

Pre­pare the crostini by brushing bread lib­er­ally on both sides with olive oil. Wipe the gar­lic clove over each slice. Heat a fry­ing pan, then press and fry the bread slices on both sides un­til golden brown. To serve, dol­lop a gen­er­ous amount of the purée onto each slice, and top with an as­para­gus tip, a few peas and some Parme­san shav­ings.

AS­PARA­GUS TERRINE is great for pic­nics, or Sun­day brunch. A terrine is a deep, ob­long, lid­ded oven­proof dish, gen­er­ally made out of cast iron, that gives its name to what­ever is cooked within it. If you don’t have a terrine, use a loaf tin in­stead. This recipe uses smoked sal­mon, but you could sub­sti­tute an­other smoked fish such as snap­per, or even ba­con. Serves 6.

INGREDIENTS • 1 bunch as­para­gus • 500g cream cheese • 4 egg whites • ½ cup cream • salt & freshly ground black pepper • 1 hand­ful chopped pars­ley • 100g smoked sal­mon, sliced

METHOD Pre­heat the oven to 150ºc, and line your tin with bak­ing pa­per. Cook as­para­gus un­til al dente, drain and dry. Beat the cream cheese with the egg whites and cream, sea­son and fold in the pars­ley. Pour into the tin, then lie half the as­para­gus spears on top (chuck them in any old how). Add a layer of sal­mon, then the last of the as­para­gus. Sit the terrine in a roast­ing pan. Pour wa­ter care­fully into the roast­ing pan so it reaches half­way up the sides of the tin. Pop on lid tin (or cover with foil) and cook for 1 hour or till set. Cool com­pletely be­fore re­frig­er­at­ing. Re­move from the tin and cut into slices.

Try this slow-cooked, creamy RISOTTO WITH PEAS AND AS­PARA­GUS. Serves 4.

INGREDIENTS • 1 litre chicken stock • 1 knob but­ter • 1 shal­lot or small onion, finely diced • 1 clove gar­lic • 1 cup Ar­bo­rio rice • ¼ cup white wine • 8 as­para­gus spears • 1 cup fresh peas • 100g fresh Parme­san • salt and black pepper

METHOD Heat the stock in a saucepan. Melt the but­ter in a large non-stick pot, add the onion and gar­lic and sweat gen­tly over a low heat un­til clear. Add the rice and stir to coat in the but­ter. Cook for 1 minute, then add the wine and cook for 2 min­utes un­til the al­co­hol has been ab­sorbed (it should not smell of wine). Add enough of the hot stock to just cover the rice. Stir con­stantly from this point on, adding stock a la­dle at a time. When the last la­dle is added, add the as­para­gus, peas and Parme­san, re­move from the heat and pop on the lid for 5 min­utes to com­plete the cook­ing. Stir well and dish into warm bowls. Top with ex­tra cheese. POTATO SALAD WITH AS­PARA­GUS AND SNOW PEAS is per­fect for pot lucks. Cel­e­brate spring’s boun­ti­ful pro­duce by us­ing ‘Rocket’ or ‘Swift’ early pota­toes in this salad. It’s great served with sal­mon fil­lets, lamb racks or but­ter­flied chicken breasts.

INGREDIENTS • 3 ta­ble­spoons ex­tra vir­gin olive oil • 1 ta­ble­spoon white wine vine­gar • 1 ta­ble­spoon whole grain mus­tard • 1 clove gar­lic, finely chopped • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper • 500g new pota­toes, washed (don’t peel) • 1 bunch as­para­gus • 200g snow peas • hand­ful flat-leaf pars­ley, chopped

METHOD Make the dress­ing in a big bowl by com­bin­ing the oil, vine­gar, mus­tard, gar­lic and sea­son­ing. Steam the pota­toes un­til ten­der, drain, then re­turn to the pot for a cou­ple of min­utes over a mod­er­ate heat to dry off any re­main­ing mois­ture. Tip into a serv­ing bowl with the dress­ing. Bring a pot of wa­ter to the boil, drop in the as­para­gus and snow peas, count to 100, drain, add to the bowl, then scat­ter in pars­ley and toss to coat all in the dress­ing. Serve warm.

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