My first feast of this each spring is to eat a pile on well-buttered toast. A more sophisticated offering is to serve it steamed or poached with some grated parmesan and lemon juice. Season the spears well with salt flakes and cracked pepper.
Alison brought over some pickled asparagus she made last year. This has a real bite in taste and texture. As the season closes, make some of this as a tasty garnish in winter.
5kg fresh asparagus, washed
2 onions sliced
several pinches of mustard seeds
2 cups white wine vinegar
2½ cups water
2 tsp mustard seeds extra
2 tbsp salt
1 tbsp pickling spice, wrapped in muslin
1 Blanch the asparagus for 2 minutes, drain and refresh under running cold water.
2 Place an onion slice and a pinch of mustard seed into the bottom of each sterilised screw top jar. Sterilise the lids as well.
3 Pack the asparagus spears upright into each jar.
4 Combine vinegar, mustard seeds, salt and pickling spice in a saucepan and boil for 15 mins.
5 Discard pickling spice bag and pour the brine over the asparagus.
6 Seal the jars, place them in a large saucepan of water and bring to the boil. Simmer for an hour. Leave to cool to create a vacuum seal.
Store in a cool dark place. These can be kept for up to a year.By Grant Allen