Asparagus and wine

Asparagus and wine

Grace, one of our resident foodies and ex-chef, has put together some excellent recipes for you to enjoy over the coming weeks as the weather heats up. Using the freshest ingredients available and pairing your delicious food with some of our Summer wines, we can tell you will have a May to remember.

British asparagus is now in season!

We must make the most of the short harvest time which only lasts around 6 weeks, from 1 May to the 20 June. Nothing beats the taste of fresh, British asparagus and here in Kent we are very lucky to grow some of the finest in the UK.

This wonderful vegetable is not only delicious, but it’s very good for you too! Asparagus is rich in nutrients, is a good source of potassium and is packed with vitamins and folic acid.

But the thing we love most about asparagus is its versatility. Why not try this 'delicacy of the vegetable world' simply steamed then coated with melted, salted butter? Or perhaps with a splash of olive oil, a sprinkling of sea salt and then oven roasted, served topped with some sharp, crumbled goat’s cheese?

Or our favourite, griddled (or barbecued!) and drizzled with an olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette, with shavings of parmesan…

Asparagus tips:

  • Asparagus should be firm to the touch; the tips should be tightly closed and should have a dark green or purple colour.
  • When preparing, gently bend the asparagus spear and it will snap - throw the woody end away.
  • Thinner asparagus stems will be more tender, whereas the thicker ones will have more flavour.
  • Store asparagus in the fridge, either wrapped in a damp cloth or in a jug of cold water.

Asparagus Risotto (Serves 2)

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Pair this recipe with Joseph Mellot Pouilly Fumé Cuvée des Edvins Cuvée Prestige 2013 or Sancerre Blanc Daniel Chotard 2014.

  • 1 small onion
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 400g asparagus (Keep a few spears to shave for serving)
  • 1 tablespoon of good quality olive oil (Plus extra for drizzling)
  • 200g Arborio risotto rice
  • 1 glass of white wine 125ml
  • 1-1.5 litres of warm chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 lemon (Juice and zest)
  • Pecorino cheese shavings
  • Salt and Pepper

Step 1: Finely dice the onion and celery and slice the ends of the asparagus into rounds, keeping the tips whole – Put the tips to one side, you don’t need these just yet. On a medium heat, gently cook the onion, celery and asparagus ends, in a dash of olive oil until softened.

Step 2: Then turn up the heat, add the risotto rice and keep stirring, before quickly adding the white wine. Stir the rice until all the liquid has evaporated. Then, turn the heat back down again and begin adding the stock, bit by bit.

Step 3: This is where the hard work starts! Keep slowly adding the stock, little by little, allowing the rice to soak up all the liquid, stirring gently to make sure that the rice doesn't catch on the bottom of the pan. Once the rice is almost cooked, (but still has some bite to it) add the asparagus tips to gently cook them through. Have a taste at this point and season with salt and pepper where necessary.

Step 4: Finally, squeeze in some lemon juice and finely grated lemon zest. Serve the risotto immediately, topped with some fresh, peppery rocket, shavings of pecorino cheese and finely shaved (uncooked) crunchy asparagus tips with a drizzle of olive oil.

Wild Sea Trout, Asparagus and Jersey Royal Niçoise (Serves 2)

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Pair this recipe with our Les Héritiers du Comte Lafon Mâcon Uchizy Les Maranches 2011.

Wild Sea Trout, Jersey Royals and Asparagus - All these are in season right now, so take full advantage!

  • 200g Jersey Royals
  • 10 spears of asparagus
  • 2 Free range eggs
  • 2 fillets of Wild Sea Trout
  • Oil for frying
  • A few black olives
  • 1 Baby gem lettuce
  • 100g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • For the Vinaigrette:
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • ½ tsp Dijon Mustard
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper

Step 1: Place the Jersey Royals in a pan of salted, boiling water and cook for about 10-15 minutes. (Or until they are cooked all the way through). When the potatoes are almost cooked, add the asparagus spears and cook until just tender, for about 3-4 minutes, depending on their size. Drain and refresh under cold water to stop the cooking process and keep the asparagus looking green and vibrant.

Step 2: Meanwhile, boil the eggs (whole) in a pan of boiling water, for about 5/6 minutes and then drain under cold running water.

Step 3: Prepare the baby gem lettuce, discarding any dirty outer leaves. Chop the tomatoes and olives in half and shake up the the vinaigrette. Peel the boiled eggs and cut them in half with a sharp knife, to display the beautiful oozy egg yolk.

Step 4: Assemble the salad by placing all the ingredients (barring the dressing and fish) into 2 serving bowls.

Step 5: Pat the fish fillets dry using some kitchen paper and sprinkle the skin with salt and pepper. Add a dash of oil to a hot frying plan and gently fry the fish skin side down until the skin crisps up. Do not touch it! When the skin is ready, it will come away from the pan, if you move the fish too soon, it will tear the skin. Turn the fish over and cook over a low heat until the fillet is just cooked to the centre.

Step 6: Toss the salad with the vinaigrette, and then lay the fish onto the top of each salad, skin side up (If you are not a fan of the skin, you can peel it off easily) and sprinkle with crunchy sea salt and a twist of black pepper.