Rose Prince’s as­para­gus recipes

Noth­ing is sad­der than limp, over­cooked as­para­gus, and noth­ing more joy­ful than a fresh green spear plucked from the ground and dunked in hol­landaise. Rose Prince on as­para­gus for be­gin­ners. Pho­tog­ra­phy and styling by Yuki Sugiura. Food styling by Va­lerie

The Daily Telegraph - Telegraph Magazine - - Contents -

WHEN I WAS A child, I could not see the point of as­para­gus. When, ev­ery April, my par­ents brought home the sea­son’s first bunches of pa­per­wrapped spears from the green­gro­cer’s (of course), I won­dered how adults could get so ex­cited about the fat, leaf­less stalks with their pointed bud­ding tops. Greens were greens, to me. Some­thing to be en­dured, hid­den un­der a fork, even fed to a dog lurk­ing un­der the ta­ble – not al­ways suc­cess­ful, de­pend­ing on the greed of the par­tic­u­lar pet.

Ap­pre­ci­a­tion be­gan with the but­ter. A veg­etable drenched in melt­ing, salty but­ter had to have some­thing go­ing for it, I de­cided. Then there was the dis­cov­ery of hol­landaise sauce – this has prom­ise, I agreed. There was a ten­dency for cooks to slightly over­cook as­para­gus then, often through us­ing that point­less wed­ding present, the as­para­gus steamer. Left a mo­ment too long in en­velop­ing, scorch­ing vapour, the heads of as­para­gus spears flop life­lessly.

When my mother be­gan to grow her own, how­ever, a three-year build-up to a pro­duc­tive as­para­gus bed, I fi­nally got it. Just picked, the stalks still have all the sugars that grad­u­ally turn to starch through stor­age. Pick­ing them, I bit off a raw head of a small spear and sug­ary juice sprang out of it. Cooked for just five min­utes, still green and perky, fi­nally I found the beauty of this uniquely flavoured veg­etable and can­not wait for the sea­son to be­gin.

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