It’s asparagus season in the UK again and predictably, from the moment I see it appear on the shelves I get an unholy urge to stock up. Not the stringy supermarket substitutes from Peru or Kenya (sorry Peruvians and Kenyans, but, you know..), no, the proper stuff, from Worcestershire – maybe Herefordshire at a push….
I’m encouraged to see my relatives back down home still take it as seriously as I do too. It’s good to know I’m not alone in this.
The tips are considered the best bit of course, but what to do with the rest of the stem I hear you ask? Oh, you didn’t, but I’ll tell you anyway – how about making a puree of the thicker end and cooking the rest on a griddle?
The two approaches make a nice contrast and was great with some nice fresh (albeit massive) hake fillets.
I flavoured the puree with the truffle mustard I found whilst back home a little while ago. As I mentioned before, it’s potent stuff, which I found surprising as I often find something ‘truffle flavoured’ generally, well, isn’t. Add a little crisped Parma ham and some sweet bang-in-season crushed Jersey Royals into the mix and it’s a nice balance of flavour and texture.
I’m sure you could make it a little more virtuous, by removing the butter, but where’s the fun in that?
- Two pieces of fresh hake. Must be fresh.
- A little flour
- A bundle of finest Worcestershire asparagus.
- A little single cream (100ml)
- 2 knobs of butter
- 1 garlic clove
- 1/2 tsp truffle mustard, if you can get it.
- 2 sliced of Parma ham
- About 8 decent sized Jersey Royal potatoes
- Sea salt
Boil the Jerseys in their jackets until just done. Put some plates in the oven to keep warm.
Trim the fat end of the asparagus and simmer in a small milk pan shallow water until nice and tender. Add the cream and truffle mustard and blitz in a blender. Return to the pan and gently simmer to reduce and thicken.
Meanwhile, get a griddle pan smoking hot. Cover the asparagus in oil and season with salt. Griddle until cooked and nicely charred.
Heat a heavy pan with some oil until smoking, dust the fish on both sides with flour and season well. Fry it skin side down, until nice and crisp. Be brave. Flip only for a minute or so to finish off and be careful not to overcook. If worried, use a thermometer to check it. Set aside on the warm plate.
Grill the Parma ham until crispy.
Gently crush the Jerseys and season with butter and a little salt. Mould them onto the plate with a ‘cheffy ring’.
Stir the rest of the butter through the puree and add it to the plate with the asparagus tips, hake and Parma ham.