Grilled Cornish Asparagus, Pipers Farm Cocktail Bacon & Oven Roasted Tomato

Ingredients for 2 ample starters or a light lunch with cheeses and toasted breads

10 medium sized Cornish asparagus spears, blanched for 4 minutes in boiling water and refreshed in ice water.
6 slices of Pipers cocktail bacon, prosciutto or similar wafer thin cured pork
1 large beefsteak tomato
½ garlic clove, minced
A pinch of chopped thyme leaves
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
Extra virgin or rapeseed oil

Method:
-Slice the tomato in half and toss in a bowl with a little oil, the thyme leaves and garlic. Season liberally.
-Place on a tray in a 70 degree Celsius oven for 10 hours, or roast in a hot oven for 10 minutes. The former is much more lovely, but needs planning!
-Using a hot griddle, lightly oil the pre-cooked asparagus and char lightly. Season liberally.
-Whilst still warm, roll in the cured ham to make two ‘parcels’
-Serve with a drizzle of oil and a crisp white or rose.

Notes:

On asparagus
True lovers of food, whether they be cooks, chefs or rapturous eaters often blur the line between stomach and loins. A sublime morsel can be a tickle to make one swoon, a great meal, foreplay. If aphrodisiacs do indeed exist, the lofty asparagus spear is a true royal with its delicate points d’amour. Elegant, dainty, short-lived and of a hue that evokes fertility, freshness and surely jealousy from lowlier vegetables, asparagus is king right down to its rooty crown.

A foreign spear is not so dear
No point. Delight in the Cornish and British asparagus season that runs from April-June. Asparagus should be a treat to be gorged upon for these 3-4 fleeting months. The key to proper product is the short time from picked to plate. Look for moistness at the cut, tight buds and a firm stalk. The sugars turn quickly to flavourless starch when left to sit. Hypermarket asparagus from Peru or Thailand in December is a cardinal sin. White asparagus is indeed amazing, but only when at source. Otherwise an overpriced delicacy travelled too far.

The cooking
Not a lot and very quickly, or not at all. Find the subtle, yet natural breaking point, snap and trim straight. Discard the woody bits as they aren’t really fit for anything bar a possible addition to vegetable stock. In a perfect world you would then boil in a special asparagus steam/boiler that blanches upright whilst saving the delicate tips from actually being submerged in the water. Us peasants can make do by boiling a large amount of heavily salted water and blanching them for 3-5 minutes, depending on thickness. Or steaming a little longer. Serve immediately or refresh in ice water for later warming or grilling. Raw asparagus can be lovely when sliced ultra thin and married with an acidic emulsion.

All the best,

Chris
www.christopherarchambault.com
www.hardboiledchef.blogspot.com
twitter: @HardboiledChef
www.southernhayhouse.com

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Steamed Asparagus- Serves 2

Keep it simple!

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • knob of butter
  • seasoning

Method

  • Steam spears until tender
  • serve with butter and black pepper

Char Grilled Asparagus, with Smoked Chicken, Wild Mushrooms, Poached Egg, Truffle Hollandaise & Toasted Brioche - Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 500g Cornish Asparagus
  • 2 no Smoked Chicken Breasts
  • 150g Mixed Wild Mushrooms
  • 4 no Cornish Free Range Eggs
  • 4 Tables Truffle Hollandaise (2 egg yolks, 250g clarified butter, 1 tables white wine vinegar, 1 truffle chopped, 1 table medera)
  • 4 nos 6cm toasted brioche circles
  • Parmesan shavings
  • 1 punnet micro celery leaves

Method

  • Make truffle hollandaise by whisking egg yolks over hot water until ribbon stage, slowly add warm clarified butter whisking continuously, add white wine vinegar, madera & truffle, keep warm. Do not over heat or the eggs will scramble.
  • Grill the aspargus.
  • Saute the wild mushrooms.
  • Poach the eggs in gently boiling salted water, with a tablespoon of vinegar in it.
  • Finely slice the smoked chicken.
  • Arrange on toasted brioche, drizzle hollandaise over, sprinkle with parmesan & micro leaves.

Cornish Asparagus, New Potato & Wild Garlic Soup – Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 500g Cornish Asparagus
  • 250g Cornish New Potatoes
  • 125g Wild Garlic
  • 4 Shallots
  • 1 Stick Celery
  • 500ml Chicken Stock
  • 175ml Crème Fraiche
  • Small bunch of Basil Leaves, finely chopped.
  • 25g Unsalted Butter
  • Cornish Sea Salt and Pepper

Method

  • Clean asparagus & new potatoes, sauté with the other vegetables in butter.
  • Add wild garlic & chicken Stock, Bring to boil and simmer until potatoes are soft.
  • Add the crème fraiche, liquidise, sieve & season
  • Garnish with the finely chopped basil leaves.
  • Serve immediatly

Falmouth Bay Lobster Salad with Asparagus. New Potatoes & Thermidor Mayonnaise - Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 nos 500g Falmouth Bay Lobsters (cooked)
  • 250g Cornish Asparagus (blanched)
  • 250g Cornish New Potatoes (boiled & sliced)
  • 1 pun Mixed Micro Herbs
  • Lambs Lettuce/curly endive (tossed in a little Growfair vinaigrette)

Ingredients for Thermidor Mayonnaise

  • 4 tablespoons - Mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon - Grated Parmesan
  • 1 teaspoon - Dijon Mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon - Tomato Confit
  • 1/2 teaspoon - Finely Chopped Parsley
  • Lemon juice
  • Sea Salt & Pepper

Method

  • Mix all ingredients for thermidor mayonnaise.
  • Arrange leaves in centre of plate.
  • Around leaves place 5 slices of new potato.
  • Top each one with a slice of lobster.
  • Over lap with asparagus.
  • Pipe thermidor mayonnaise in between each pile.
  • Scatter the washed micro herbs around plate.

Grilled Cornish Asparagus. Brioche. Truffle & Parmesan - Serves 4 as a canape

Ingredients

  • 250g Asparagus tips
  • 4 nos 3cm discs of toasted brioche
  • Parmesan Shavings
  • Lemon Mayonnaise
  • 1 tables Truffle Vinaigrette (3 parts olive oil to cider vinegar - chopped truffle, Dijon mustard, salt & pepper
  • 1 Punnet Micro Rocket

Method

  • Grill asparagus tips, toss with truffle vinaigrette.
  • Pipe mayonnaise onto brioche.
  • Arrange parmesan shavings on top
  • Sprinkle with the micro rocket leaves.

Grilled Cornish New Potato, Asparagus & Scallops with a Pink Grapefruit Ceviche on Rye Toast

As a Canape serves 4

Ingredients

  • 4 nos 3cm Disc Rye Toast (dried in oven)
  • 4 3cm Rings New Potatoes Grilled
  • 4 Heads Asparagus
  • 4 no Hand Dived Falmouth Scallops

For Ceviche

  • 1Pink Grapefruit - segmented & chopped
  • 1 no Shallot no - chopped finely
  • 1 Small Carrot - chopped finely
  • 1 Small Red Chilli - chopped finely
  • Ginger - chopped finely
  • Chives - chopped finely
  • 1 table Avocado Oil

Method

  • Mix all ingredients for ceviche, store in an air tight container (this will last for at least a week).
  • Panfry the scallops in a red hot pan for 30 seconds each side, toss asparagus in pan.
  • Arrange canape in following order - toast, grilled potato, scallop, asparagus, top with a spoonfull of the ceviche mix.

Salad of Asparagus and New Potatoes with Cornish Blue Cheese & Basil

Ingredients

  • 500g Cornish asparagus spears
  • the Juice of 1 lemon.
  • 4 tables extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 225g small Cornish new potatoes, boiled and cut into quarters lengthwise, and tossed in a little olive oil
  • 250g cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 50g stoned black olives, halved
  • 2 shallots finely chopped
  • 1 large bunch basil, finely shredded
  • 150g Cornish blue cheese, crumbled, to serve.

Method

  • Clean the asparagus and trim if necessary.
  • Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, drop in the asparagus and blanch for 1-3 minutes until just tender.
  • Drain and immerse in a very cold water to prevent further cooking. This leaves the asparagus bright green.
  • Mix the lemon juice and olive oil together with the sea salt and black pepper to make a dressing.
  • Place the boiled potatoes, cherry tomatoes, olives, shallots and basil in bowl and toss together with the dressing.
  • Arrange the asparagus on a large platter or individual serving plates, spoon some of the potato mixture over the asparagus and garnish with the crumbled cheese to serve.