Updated: Oct 19
BRITISH, SEASONAL AND SUSTAINABLE PRODUCE CHAMPIONED EACH MONTH BY CHEF CRAIG HENNESSEY AT THE ROBIN HOOD INN
CHAMPION OF THE MONTH The start of the English asparagus season is eagerly anticipated by chef's and food lovers, up and down the country. Although the prime season is quiet brief, the quality is exceptional. From mid March, thin, fat purple and white varieties, become available. They have been known to make a freak appearance for Valentines day
The first shoots of the year usually come from the Chinn Family farm in the beautiful Wye Valley, near Ross-on-Wye in Herefordshire, a region perfectly suited to growing asparagus. The light, sandy soil and south-facing slopes of the meandering Wye Valley capture the earliest spring sunlight, and create a microclimate that is perfectly formed to produce some of the earliest, and the best, produce in the UK.
Asparagus deteriorates relatively quickly after picking, which is why freshly picked English asparagus in peak season compared to imported Peruvian asparagus, is what dining at Gilpin - Windermere is to eating a microwaved frozen Chicken Masala ready meal on your lap in front of the TV.
Perfect pairing: Bodri, Chardonay 'Sari' - 2019
Vibrant dry white wine has fruity aroma of green apple & peach blossom with a brilliant pale straw colour with racy acidity.
British asparagus is packed full of goodness, so not only are you getting a delicious vegetable but a healthy one too:
Asparagus contains 41.6mcg per 100 g vitamin K. 4x more than carrots, Vitamin K is essential for healthy blood clotting
Asparagus is a mild diuretic and is believed to help detoxify the body. It is a nutrient-packed vegetable. It is a very good source of fibre, vitamins as well as chromium, folate, potassium, and phosphorous, in addition to other micronutrients that enhances the ability of insulin to transport glucose from the bloodstream into cells. That's good news if you're watching your blood sugar.
It also Promotes healthy skin: Six spears of asparagus contain 25% of the RDA of vitamin A. Vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant in the body that can protect the skin against sun damage.
BUYING Look for firm but tender stalks with good colour and closed tips. Thinner stalks are not necessarily more tender; in fact thicker specimens can often be delicious if cooked correctly
STORING Once picked, asparagus rapidly loses flavour and tenderness, so it really is worth eating it on the day you buy it. To Store asparagus, remove any rubber bands from the bunch. Place in the fridge with a damp paper towel wrapped around the bottom of the stalks.
Remove the end of the stalk and rinse, gently peel the bottom half of the stem. blanch in salted boiling water for 2 minutes then chill on to ice. you can use this blanched asparagus to grill, roast, pan-fry or even deep-fry in a batter. Using this method will maintain colour an flavour.
RECIPE OF THE MONTH
Asparagus and crispy Thornby moor goats cheese