Saturday, 26 June 2010

Goodbye asparagus, hello strawberries

The English asparagus season is coming to a close - I had my final delivery of asparagus from Riverford last week.  They source their asparagus from Clive Martin in Cambridgeshire, a third generation farmer who has been growing traditional Fenland crops for twenty years. I know you can buy imported asparagus in the supermarkets pretty much all year round (my local Co-op currently has asparagus from Peru on its shelves), but I try to eat mostly local, seasonal food. This guarantees you a varying diet throughout the year, and you are always looking forward to the next treat coming into season. Just as the asparagus comes to an end, the spinach, chard, broad beans, and strawberries are beginning.

I try to eat asparagus at least twice a week during May and June. it is fantastic served with hollandaise sauce, but if the idea of eating that much butter doesn't appeal, try it with Raymond Blanc's lemon sabayon. You can also serve it simply with a soft-boiled egg, using the asparagus tips as soldiers - or why not try the char-grilled asparagus with a slow cooked egg (pictured above)? Still on the asparagus and eggs theme, I also cooked up this pizza - the asparagus needs no pre-cooking, it simply roasts on top of the pizza.

If you're quick, you might pick up the last of the English asparagus, otherwise these ideas will have to wait until next year. In the mean time, you can console yourself some with strawberries. One of my favourite ways to eat strawberries is Eton mess: toss together halved strawberries, Chantilly cream, and broken meringue. Eat right away.

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