More ways with asparagus
soup (below) In a large saucepan, fry a chopped brown onion in butter. Once softened—but not browned—add a crushed clove of garlic and fry gently. Remove the tips and woody ends from a bunch of asparagus (about 12 stems) and set the tips aside. Add the asparagus spears to the pan and cover with about 500ml of chicken stock. Simmer gently until the asparagus has softened, then purée with a stick blender and pass through a sieve. Drop the tips into boiling, salted water for a couple of minutes— so that they’re cooked, but still retain a bite—then dunk in cold water. Divide the soup between bowls and top with a few tips and Parmesan shavings.
Remove the woody ends from asparagus, then individually wrap the spears in half rashers of bacon. Grill until browned and serve as ‘soldiers’ with soft-boiled duck eggs—these will need to be boiled for 6–7 minutes for runny yolks.
A side of asparagus
My favourite way of serving asparagus is very simply to steam it, so that it retains a good bite, then drizzle with olive oil and a generous squeeze of lemon juice, salt, freshly ground black pepper and grated Parmesan— simple, yet delicious.