Asparagus, berkswell cheese, soft boiled egg
24 asparagus spears
75g unsalted butter
Break the asparagus spears by holding gently at each end and bending until it breaks at its tender point. Take all the tougher ends and juice them or blend with a little water and strain. Reserve the juice.
Heat a pan wide enough to contain all of the asparagus in a single layer then add the butter followed by the asparagus, season with a little salt and cook until the asparagus just about starts to roast. At this point add the asparagus stock and chicken stock to just cover the asparagus if necessary. Bring to the boil and cover with a lid or foil. Cook for 3 minutes then remove the lid and continue to boil until most of the liquid has reduced away and what is left forms an emulsion with the butter giving a nice glaze to the asparagus.
Soft boiled egg
4 medium free range eggs, use the best quality you can
Bring a pan of water deep enough to contain the eggs to the boil, add the eggs and cook for 5 minutes. Cool slightly under cold running water but peel them while still warm. Cut in half and season with salt and pepper.
Scatter the asparagus across four plates and top each with an egg, finish with some berkswell cheese shaved over with a vegetable peeler.
Simple asparagus, sunflower seed mayonnaise
Sunflower seed mayonnaise
250ml sunflower oil, extra virgin/cold pressed if available
100g sunflower seeds
1 egg yolk
1tsp dijon mustard
25ml sherry vinegar
Pinch of salt
Crush the sunflower seeds then warm 50ml of the sunflower oil in a frying pan, add the sunflower seeds and toast until evenly browned. Add the remaining oil and allow to cool before passing through a fine sieve. Whisk together the yolks, mustard, vinegar and salt, gradually incorporate the oil in a slow steady stream whilst whisking until a thick emulsion is achieved (if this consistency is reached before all of the oil is added loosen with a few drops of water). Check seasoning and adjust if necessary.
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Repeat the instructions for cooking asparagus above. Serve a pile of the asparagus with a spoonful of the mayonnaise and some toasted sunflower seeds sprinkled over the top.
Asparagus, jersey royals, scallops, marmite butter
This dish is something I love to serve in the spring when it starts to warm up a little bit. It can be a lovely sharing dish and while here I have used scallops I will generally use all sorts of shellfish; prawns in the shells and crab are other favourites. I like to serve it with some crusty bread to mop up that delicious butter.
20 asparagus spears
20 small jersey royal potatoes, scrubbed
8 large scallops
150g unsalted butter, diced
1 clove garlic
½tbsp chopped parsley
Cook the jersey royals in a pan covered with salted water until tender, strain and set aside. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, cook the asparagus spears until tender.
In a frying pan heat a little sunflower oil over a high heat. Pat the scallops dry with kitchen paper, season with salt and place flattest side down in the pan, cook for a minute or so to get a nice golden brown crust, turn over and reduce to a medium heat, add the butter followed by the garlic lightly crushed. Cook for a minute or so and remove the scallops, season the butter with a fine grating of lemon zest, a squeeze of juice, then the marmite. Toss the potatoes, asparagus, parsley and scallops through the butter and serve immediately.
Herb risotto, asparagus, baked parmesan
This risotto recipe is designed to be really quick and simple and would possibly get me lynched in Italy, but in my view it yields great results and was deemed good enough by a two-star chef to use in his kitchen!
250g carnaroli risotto rice
Chicken/vegetable stock concentrate
Bring a large pan of water, at least 2l, to the boil. Season with the stock concentrate. Add the rice and return to the boil, cook for 5 minutes making sure it doesn’t catch on the bottom but don’t stir too much. Strain through a colander or sieve. Spread into a single layer on a baking tray or two and put in the freezer until completely frozen. At this point you can bag up the rice in portions and keep stored in the freezer ready to pull out for a quick risotto at a later date. Remove 240g of the rice from the freezer and defrost.
400ml fresh white chicken stock
2 tbsp mixed chopped fresh herbs (parsley, chervil, chives)
1tbsp finely grated parmesan
Zest of half and juice of quarter lemon
Bring the stock to the boil and add the rice, continue to boil while stirring regularly until the stock has reduced by about ¾. Add the mascarpone and boil until you have a creamy consistency, finish with the parmesan, herbs and lemon. Check seasoning. If it becomes too stodgy and thick add a little more stock to loosen.
20 asparagus spears
60g unsalted butter
Break the asparagus spears by holding gently at each end and bending until it breaks at its tender point. At this point take all the tougher ends and juice them or blend with a little water and strain. Reserve the juice. Slice the asparagus into rounds all the way up to leave a 2cm tip, slice the tip in half lengthwise.
Heat a pan wide enough to contain all of the asparagus in a single layer then add the butter followed by the asparagus, season with a little salt and cook until the asparagus just about starts to roast. At this point add the asparagus stock and just enough chicken stock to cover the asparagus. Bring to the boil and cook until most of the liquid has reduced away and what is left forms an emulsion with the butter, giving a nice glaze to the asparagus.
50g finely grated parmesan
15g plain flour
Heat the oven to 170C.Mix the flour and parmesan together and sprinkle a thin layer on to a parchment-lined baking tray. Bake for around 5 minutes or until golden brown. Alternatively cook in the microwave in 20 second bursts. Serve the risotto in a mound in the centre of a bowl and cover it completely with the asparagus. Finish with some of the broken baked parmesan.
Steve Groves, head chef of Roux at Parliament Square