Town & Country (UK)
Here in the UK, we have such definite seasons, of which spring is my favourite. The days start to get longer, trees and hedgerows fill out, and there’s all that wonderful produce. Asparagus season is so short but it’s worth the wait, especially for the white variety that can be found in the Wye Valley. As a chef, you know this means you don’t need to play around to make it great, because the vegetable is at its best. While the Princess of Shoreditch is temporarily closed, we are working on new dishes, and also getting our homemade charcuterie under way, using some stunning produce including English Wagyu. We bought a whole cow from Gracemount Farm in Thirsk in December and had to make most of it into cured meat so it lasts the unpredictability of the lockdowns. Ruth Hansom is the head chef of the Princess of Shoreditch in Hackney (www.theprincessofshoreditch.com).
ASPARAGUS WITH PEA SHOOTS AND A PINE NUT, TRUFFLE & LEMON DRESSING
Serves six INGREDIENTS
A bunch of green asparagus spears, ends snapped off A bunch of white asparagus spears, ends snapped off Lemon
FOR THE PICKLED
MUSHROOMS 200g button mushrooms, cut into quarters 100ml white wine vinegar 100g sugar 5g salt 4 cardamom pods
FOR THE DRESSING
50g pine nuts, chopped 1 lemon, zest and juice 20ml truffle oil 5g chopped mint 5g Maldon sea salt 5g sugar 100ml rapeseed oil
Shavings of Berkswell cheese Pea shoots Mint leaves
Blanch the green and white asparagus separately in water with a squeeze of lemon. Cook for three minutes before removing and refreshing in ice water.
Next, pickle the mushrooms. Bring the vinegar, 100ml of water, sugar, salt and cardamom pods to the boil. Pour
this pickling liquid over the mushrooms.
Mix the dressing ingredients together before dressing the mushrooms and asparagus. Divide between plates and garnish with the mint leaves and pea shoots. Shave the Berkswell cheese on top with a peeler.