Tag Archives: asparagus

Grilled Plaice with Mustard and Tarragon Sauce, Asparagus and Peas Revisited

This is such a lovely dish and because, for some unknown reason, I had a glut of plaice in the freezer, we enjoyed this dish twice again this week. The sauce is simply exquisite – a perfect foil for the fish.

This week couldn’t find fresh tarragon so used dried in the sauce but it was still lovely. Also, at the second sitting, I swapped lettuce and asparagus for buttered leeks and served the dish with oven-roasted chunked red potatoes that had been tossed in chopped garlic, dried rosemary, salt and olive oil – just yummy.

Where’s the recipe…?

To find the original, simply go to the search box in the top right hand corner of my home page and type in ‘plaice’ – it’ll pop up! Enjoy xx

 

Skate with Asparagus and Rosemary Salmoriglio

Fresh fish is best served simply: I am not the first to say that and certainly won’t be the last. This skate dish is simple, quick and just divine. The lovely little Italian herb oil (Salmoriglio) is just whizzed up in the processor and the skate, sautéed in butter – the combination? Exquisite!!! Oh….and….it’s quite healthy!!!!

Serves 2

What you need…

10g rosemary sprigs (8 – 10 depending on size), leaves picked

Pinch of salt

2 garlic cloves, chopped

Squeeze fresh lemon juice

5 tablespoons olive oil

2 x 250g skate wings

100g plain flour

A large handful of asparagus, trimmed

What to do…

For the salmoriglio, tip the rosemary leaves into a small food processor and whizz until finely chopped. Add the salt, garlic and lemon juice and whizz until smooth. Still whizzing, slowly pour in 3 tablespoons of the oil. Whizz until all the ingredients are combined – that’s it: done!

Season the skate wings. Pour the flour onto a plate and coat the fish on both sides. Heat the remaining oil in a large frying pan (or two) over a moderate heat and sauté the skate for 5 minutes on each side or until cooked through and golden.

Meanwhile, bring a pan of salted water to the boil and simmer the asparagus for about 3 minutes, until just tender. Drain.

Serve your magnificent skate wings with asparagus on the side and drizzle over the salmoriglio. A forkful of the fish with a little of the herb oil together make for a joyful marriage! Enjoy!

Tip…

I didn’t realise when I bought the skate that this fish is seriously under threat due to over-fishing. Ray makes a perfect alternative and was in fact the recommended fish in the original recipe.

Inspired by…

My Waitrose magazine

How easy…

Wonderfully easy for such a fabulous dish.

Monkfish with Asparagus Risotto and Sage Oil

This is a lovely warm and comforting risotto with the rather sumptuous addition of monkfish. Very filling and very easy to make, it’s very slow cooking process also makes for some relaxation time. I love sage and the sage-infused oil adds just perfect finishing touch to this tasty family supper dish.

What you need…

for the sage oil

40ml olive oil

A small handful of sage leaves, roughly chopped

for the risotto

1 x baking tray, lined with Bake O Glide or buttered to prevent the fish sticking

500ml water, boiled in the kettle

1 vegetable stockpot (I use Knorr)

16 – 20 asparagus spears (depending on how much you like your asparagus)

Splash of olive oil

Knob of butter

3 shallots, finely chopped

400g risotto rice

350ml white wine

Sea salt and black pepper

800g monkfish, cut into biggish bite-sized chunks

30g Parmesan cheese, grated

What to do…

Preheat your oven to 180°c / 350°f / gas 4.

In a small saucepan, tip in the oil and sage leaves and turn onto the lowest heat, leaving the sage to infuse into the oil whilst you do the rest of the recipe.

In another pan, make a vegetable stock by dissolving the stockpot into the boiling water, using a balloon whisk to speed up the process. Set aside.

Trim your asparagus (I just break mine roughly in the middle). Set aside the lovely tips and roughly chop the remaining woody ends, adding them to the vegetable stock. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a gentle heat, just to keep it warm.

In a third, wide saucepan, heat the oil and butter over a moderate heat. Add in the shallots and sauté until they are soft but not brown (5 minutes maybe). Add the rice and stir for 1 minute. Pour in the wine and stir on a casual basis until it has all been absorbed (I normally faff around doing other bits and pieces at this point).

Using a slotted spoon, remove the chopped asparagus from the stock and discard. Chuck the asparagus tips into the rice, season with sea salt and black pepper and then add 1 ladle of stock into the rice and turn the heat down so that it is very gently simmering. More casual stirring required. Once that first ladle has been absorbed, add another and keep going like this until all the stock has been used. It is important to do this slowly (15 – 20 minutes) and over a low heat to ensure that the rice doesn’t cook too quickly on the outside. If you run out of stock before the rice is properly cooked, add a little boiling water. Have a taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

As the last ladle goes in, place the monkfish chunks on your baking tray and drizzle over a little sage oil, including the leaves. Season and pop in the oven and cook for 10 minutes – it’s cooked when it bounces back when poked!

Whilst the fish is cooking, remove the risotto from the heat and stir in the Parmesan. Pop the lid on and let the risotto rest to become lovely, oozy and creamy for 5 minutes.

To serve, spoon or plonk a wee mountain of asparagus risotto onto each plate (definitely warmed) and then scatter over the monkfish, before drizzling over the remaining sage oil. Enjoy! Just enjoy – absolutely delightful.

Tip…

Rather than peeling and chopping shallots, I buy the frozen ‘Cooks’ Ingredients Handful of Shallots’ from Waitrose, which simply require a quick shake out of the packet – much easier!

Inspired by…

My Waitrose magazine for the idea, a little Jamie Oliver for the approach and quite a lot of Cindy-meddling with the ingredients!

How easy…

Very, very easy but risotto takes time. Some good background music, someone to chat to in a warm kitchen with a cold glass of white wine produce perfect results!

 

Roasted Summer Vegetable Salad

A really lovely summer salad that combines garlic-roasted summer vegetables with garden-fresh salad leaves to create a barbecue accompaniment that has a definite Mediterranean feel to it, bringing sunshine into your meal even if the British weather isn’t delivering!

Serves 4 as a side dish

What you need…

1 each of red, yellow and green bell peppers, cored and sliced

2 courgettes, sliced

3 cloves garlic chopped

Splash of olive oil

250g asparagus, trimmed

4 medium tomatoes, quartered

A selection of your favourite salad leaves (I like basil, rocket, spinach, iceberg and chicory) cleaned and torn to bite-size

for the salad dressing

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 dessertspoon good quality balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

What to do…

Preheat your oven to 200° / 400°f / gas 6.

Tip the peppers, courgettes and garlic into a deep ovenproof dish, slosh in the olive oil and stir it through the vegetables. Pop in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and give them a quick stir – some of the peppers will be just starting to take on a char-grilled look – perfect. Tip in the asparagus and mix them in before popping the dish back in the oven for a further 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, stir in the tomatoes and set aside until room temperature.

In the bottom of your salad bowl, tip the oil, balsamic and mustard. Mix together with a fork. Just before you are ready to eat, tip in your roasted vegetables mix and then scatter over the salad leaves. Toss the whole lot together and serve alongside barbecued fish and meats, maybe with some piping hot and slightly gooey mozzarella garlic bread (already blogged) or new potatoes as well. A feast indeed!

Inspired by…

A made-up recipe that we’ve been enjoying for years!

How easy…

So easy that it sort of does itself, allowing you to do the other prep for a great barbie.

 

 

Zingy, Fresh Asian-Inspired Salad with Asparagus and Crayfish

Salad days are here – yippppeee and lordy, lordy, lordy, this salad is spectacular: it’s zingy and fresh and its fabulous tastes and textures demand your attention. Eat it by itself or serve with fish: terikayi tuna is ideal but also, try this salad on the side of a lovely roasted salmon fillet – maybe with a wedge of lime on the side. I’ve changed the original recipe by adding a few extra ingredients, most notably the crayfish tails (they were on offer) but equally you could add prawns, smoked salmon or even hot, seared scallops. Anyway, it’s just lovely! I’ve never understood why people think salad is boring – this one will knock your socks off – give it a go!

Serves 2 (this is based on the quantities used to make up the marinade – if you’re creating salad for more people, just increase the quantities accordingly).

What you need…

for the salad

A selection of salad leaves: handfuls each of red chicory, rocket, spinach and baby gem work well but really, it’s whatever takes your fancy and is in the fridge

5cm chunk of cucumber, peeled and chopped

3 medium tomatoes, chopped

Handful of mint leaves, torn

Handful of coriander, chopped

250g asparagus, trimmed

125g crayfish tails or prawns (optional)

for the salad dressing

1 lime, juice only

2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

1 dessertspoon fresh ginger, grated

1 tablespoon palm sugar

2 tablespoons fish sauce

3 tablespoons soy sauce (or Tamari if you would prefer gluten-free)

1 red bird eye chilli, finely chopped

1 tablespoon mint leaves, chopped

1 tablespoon coriander leaves, chopped

What to do…

Pop the asparagus into boiling, water and cook for 2 minutes until al dente. Drain, refresh with cold water and drain again. Set aside to cool.

Put all your salad dressing ingredients into a screw-topped jar, tighten the lid and shake vigorously until mixed thoroughly together.

When you’re ready to eat, take a large pretty bowl, chuck in your cucumber, tomatoes, all your salad leaves, herbs, asparagus and crayfish tails . Tip over the dressing and mix together. That’s it! Serve and enjoy this absolutely wonderful salad with a lovely crisp dry white wine. And relax….

Tip…

If you’re not too sure about the kick of the chilli, use just half, rather than a whole one

Inspired by…

Watching James Martin and Mary Berry, separately, and then doing my own thing.

How easy…

Well, it’s salad so it’s not hard is it?!

 

Beef Fillet with a Fricassee of Mushrooms and Asparagus Purée

A rather lovely treat. In the name of this blog, I had to insist that we tried this recipe, mainly because the mushrooms sounded interesting! So, we got to have beef fillet – yipppeee! The fillet came from a great butcher and I did very little to it other than emphasise its natural flavour with seasoning. The mushrooms were quite a revelation – I’ve never even thought to do them like this before but they were absolutely lovely – we’ll be having them again. And then there’s the asparagus…it’s in season so we’ve been having lots of it so I wanted to do something different – hence the green blobs! Despite being potentially pretentious (if they’d been a bit tidier) the process really intensified the flavour and I would definitely give this ago again and not just with asparagus! If you fancy treating yourself to a nice bit of fillet, then I would wholeheartedly recommend this recipe.

Serves 4

What you need…

4 gorgeous beef fillets, about 3cm thick

Olive oil

Sea salt and black pepper

for the mushrooms

100ml boiling water from the kettle

½ beef stockpot (I use Knorr)

100g unsalted butter

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 shallot, finely chopped

200g assorted mushrooms

2 tablespoons Madeira

1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard

Sea salt and black pepper

1 tomato, peeled, deseeded and finely chopped

1 teaspoon tarragon, chopped

for the asparagus

250g asparagus, trimmed

Knob butter

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Sea salt and black pepper

2 tablespoons double cream

What to do…

A couple of hours before you want to eat, prepare the beef. Fillet doesn’t need tenderising. Instead, put a teaspoon of olive oil onto one side of each steak, spreading it evening over and then, using the heel of your hand, massage the steak – it needs no more than this. Season with salt and pepper, flip and repeat on the other side. Cover your steaks with cling film and set aside until you’re ready to cook them.

Next, the asparagus purée! In a medium-sized deep frying pan, cook the asparagus in boiling salted water for 2 minutes. Drain (retaining a little of the water). Return the asparagus to the dry pan, add the butter, Dijon and seasoning stirring together until the butter is melted and the other ingredients evenly incorporated. Remove from the heat and stir in the cream. Tip the whole lot into your blender with a tablespoon of the retained cooking water. Whizz until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning. Add a little more water if the mixture is too thick for your liking. Pop the asparagus purée into a plastic bottle (to create the blobs) and keep warm until serving.

To the mushrooms! Use a balloon whisk to mix together the boiling water and beef stockpot to create 100ml beef stock. Set aside.

Melt 20g of the butter in a pan, add the garlic and shallot and cook until transparent. Add the mushrooms and cook gently for 3 minutes. Add the Madeira to the pan, turn up the heat and cook, stirring regularly, until the liquid has reduced by half. Stir in the mustard and then the rest of the butter. Season and then tip in the tomato and tarragon.

Meanwhile, cook your fillets. Place your lovely fillets into a dry frying pan over a moderate heat. Cook for a few minutes on each side until they are cooked to your liking. Allow them to rest a little before serving.

Serve your beef fillet with a goodly portion of the wonderful fricassee of mushrooms and either a few blobs, a smear or dollop of the beautifully intensely flavoured asparagus purée together with a wonderful glass or two of a great red wine (a good claret perhaps?) Just yummy!

Tip…

I use Cooks’ Ingredients frozen chopped garlic and frozen, chopped shallots from Waitrose, preferring a quick shake of the packet rather than all the peeling and chopping.

Inspired by…

Michael Caines on Saturday Kitchen

How easy…

Very easy – I knocked this up in just a few minutes having all afternoon in the kitchen creating the wonderful but time-intense Chocolate, Orange and Cardamom Diva cake, so I was knackered when I started – this was an absolute sinch and the perfect end to the day.

Poached Egg with Asparagus and Parma Ham

 

You know how sometimes the ridiculously simple can be stunningly good – this little recipe fits that description. I can’t give you exact measurements because this is definitely one that is defined by your individual taste and appetite. Bottom line though, it’s a gorgeous little indulgent lunch or starter that you can knock out in no time and will knock your socks off! This version of poaching an egg is also fabulous, creates no washing up and is failsafe (dare I say it!)

Serves 1

What you need…

A few slices of Parma Ham, up to you; it depends how much you fancy

A few asparagus spears, again as much as you fancy

1 Large Egg

Parmesan, grated, again the amount depends on your taste

Sea salt and black pepper

What to do…

On your worktop, layout out one 30cm square piece of cling film. Lay another, the same size on top. (The size is a rough guide). Rub a teaspoon of olive oil all over the middle of the top piece. Pick up the double cling film layers gently push into a teacup. Break your egg into the cling film and then pick up the corners and edges of the cling film layers and tie in a knot so that you egg is in a little cling film bundle. Pop into a saucepan of boiling water, turn down the heat to medium and simmer for 5-6 minutes.

Take the asparagus and cut the hard ends off (usually about half of the spear) and pop them into a separate shallow pan of boiling, salted water. Boil for about 4 minutes – test one to see if it’s cooked to your liking. Drain in a colander.

Arrange the Parma ham and cooked asparagus on a plate.

Cut your poached egg ‘bundle’ just below the knot and tip the egg out onto the Parma ham and asparagus.

Season with Parmesan, salt and pepper. Break open the egg and watch with delight as the yolk dribbles all over the asparagus and ham. For maximum enjoyment, try a bit of everything with each forkful. Serve with toasted Italian bread – Pane Pugliese (very crispy). Altogether poached egg with asparagus and Parma ham can be described as very yummy!

Inspired by…

The poached egg is Jamie Oliver’s. The dish itself is just kinda out there I think.

How easy…

About as easy as it gets!

 

 

Asparagus Tart with Brie and Capers Dressing

This is a lovely tart, ideal for sharing with friends as a starter or as a light but delicious lunch

Serves 4 – 6

What you need…

1 baking sheet

500g ready-made puff pastry

1 egg, beaten

500g asparagus

250g Brie, sliced

Sea salt and black pepper

for the dressing

2 tablespoons capers

2 tablespoons olive oil

A squeeze fresh lemon juice

What to do…

Roll out the pastry to a large rectangle, around 23cm x 30cm. Using a knife, score another rectangle 2.5cm inside the edge, without cutting right through the pastry. Brush the 2.5cm ‘frame’ with the beaten egg and place on a baking sheet. Chill for 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200°c / 400°f / gas 6.

Trim the asparagus to fit across the inside of the frame. Blanch for 3 minutes in boiling, salted water then, drain in a colander and ‘refresh’ with cold water. Set aside the asparagus in the colander.

Bake the pastry in the oven until lightly browned. Remove and then discard the top couple of layers of the inner (scored) rectangle to prevent having a ‘soggy bottom’ underneath the asparagus.

Arrange the asparagus inside the pastry frame, top with the cheese and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 20 minutes or until the pastry is gorgeously browned and the cheese has melted.

Mix together the dressing and drizzle over the tart.

That’s it – serve your asparagus tart with brie and capers dressing straight away and enjoy. A glass of crisp, dry white wine wouldn’t go amiss!

A Quick Aside…

The image shows the tart made for just two people, using half the ingredients – a lovely little mid-afternoon snack!

Inspired By…

Woman and Home magazine (torn out several years ago!)

How Easy…

Really very easy, especially as it looks and tastes so yummy!

 

Roast Asparagus in Parma Ham Parcels

This is an ideal canapé to have with pre-dinner drinks, or perhaps to hand around as part of a canapé selection at a Christmas drinks party. These delightful little morsels are absolutely lovely, ideally accompanied by a rather pleasant glass of fizz.

Makes 10

What you need…

One flat baking tin, greased with olive oil

20 x asparagus spears, trimmed

10 slices prosciutto di parma

Sea salt and black Pepper

Parmesan cheese, grated

What to do…

Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and drop the asparagus in. Cook in the boiling water for 2 minutes.

Drain and and refresh in cold water. Drain again and cool to the point that they are easy to handle.

Lay out one slice of Parma ham. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and Parmesan and then cut in half lengthways.

Using one ‘half slice’ of Parma ham, place two asparagus spears at one end and roll up so the Parma ham is the wrapping around your asparagus. Place on your baking tin.

Repeat until all the asparagus spears and Parma ham have been used up.

You can now leave them in the fridge for a couple of hours, enabling you to go and get ready for your guests.

When ready, pop the baking tin in the oven preheated to 200°c / 400°f / Gas 6 for 4-5 minutes and then serve. Absolutely delightful!

Inspired by…

I can’t quite remember – lots of people seemed to have included a version of this in their cookbooks but I think that Delia Smith was the original inspiration – she uses hard cheese rather than grated.

How easy…

Really, really easy and your Roast Asparagus in Parma Ham Parcels can be prepared ahead of time – bonus!