It’s asparagus season! Short, sweet and full of promise.
These elegant spears – which are in fact part of the lily family - can be traced back to ancient Greece, and the Roman times. It arrived in the UK in the 16th century.
There are so many benefits to eating asparagus it’s hard to know where to start. It fights against bloating, contains vitamin C which helps boost immunity and it is also something of a diuretic and flushes out toxins effectively.
People tend to think that the slimmer the stalk, the more tender it will be. Not so, because of the volume of skin and relative lack of ‘meat’.
Yes, keep the ends well hydrated, but really the best way of ensuring the best possible flavour is to eat asparagus ASAP. Snap the ends off cleanly – no need for cutting.
How best to eat asparagus? Well, thanks to their tenderness and flavour, you don’t need to do much to get a stellar result. After cooking – boil (five mins), barbeque, grill – drizzle with decent olive oil, before adding salt, pepper and parmesan shavings.
That said, the traditional accompaniment to asparagus is of course hollandaise sauce, which is notoriously difficult to master – and terribly easy to make a mess of. Plenty of people swear by putting all the ingredients - 150g butter, two eggs, a splash of white wine vinegar and the juice from one lemon (and a truckload of confidence) - into one pan and stirring it all up gently until smooth and silky.
However, if you’re feeling apprehensive,this Jamie Oliver recipe is one we think is particularly good. It does require a whisk but is quick and easy.
Remember, practise makes perfect!