One of the best things about spring is the availability of fresh asparagus. In this day and age we can get asparagus throughout the year, but this time of year when it’s truly in season asparagus tends to be sweeter, more tender and, of course, at its most plentiful.
With all of this delicious asparagus up for offer, I like to eat it almost every day when it’s in high season, but no one wants the same thing for dinner every night. Luckily, asparagus is fairly versatile. Here are three ways to enjoy it this spring:
Asparagus is so full of flavour, cooking it simply and serving it virtually on its own is pretty much your best option. Steam it, blanch it, roast it in the oven, grill it on the barbeque or panfry it. Whichever cooking method you go with, the asparagus can be served simply with a drizzle of olive oil and a bit of salt or a simple vinaigrette and some lemon zest — it’s that easy. If it’s fresh and sweet enough you can even just eat it raw along with other crudité and a creamy dip.
- Put it in a tart or quiche
Asparagus goes beautifully with creamy eggs or custard and a number of different kinds of cheese, which is why you’ll frequently find tart and quiche recipes that make use of fresh asparagus. And it doesn’t have to be overly complicated: try this recipe for an easy asparagus and mascarpone tart that uses store-bought frozen puff pastry.
- Pickle it
Pickling and canning is so in vogue right now and if you’re lucky enough to have more fresh asparagus than you can reasonably eat, go ahead and preserve it so you can enjoy it later in the year. Try a traditional dill asparagus spear pickle if you have all of your canning basics down and want something that you can put on your pantry shelf. For some instant (and more short-term) gratification, asparagus is also a good candidate for a quick pickle. Use this recipe to make a quick tarragon and shallot asparagus pickle that can be served as a quick snack or alongside a simple spring meal.