Roast Asparagus with Lemon Soy Butter
Melt 150g butter in a saucepan then pour carefully into a clean saucepan, leaving the milk solids behind. Add 2 stalks of finely sliced lemon grass or 1 teaspoon lemon grass powder, 1 bird’s eye chilli and 1 clove crushed garlic to the clarified butter and gently warm for 10 minutes. Season to taste. Arrange 1 bundle of asparagus in a roasting tin, sprinkle with salt and pepper and brush with olive oil. Roast in a preheated oven at 200°C for 6 minutes. Arrange the tips loose in an attractive pile. Mix the flavoured butter with 2 tablespoons soy sauce and juice of half a lemon and serve separately or spoon it around the asparagus.
Trim the cut ends off asparagus, and cut them into the lengths that will fit in a jar. Lay them in a flat glass or ceramic dish and cover with water and ¼ cup Himalayan pink salt. Stand for 1 hour. Drain, rinse, pat dry. Sterilise two large preserving jars in simmering water for 5 minutes. Heat together 2 cups clear apple cider vinegar, 2/3 cups sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon mustard seed, and 1 teaspoon chilli flakes. Pack spears into jars. Pour hot liquid into jars, leaving 1 cm clear of the rim. Seal jars and place in a water bath for 10 minutes. Cool, then store.
Asparagus Bruschetta with Grilled Cheese & Bacon
Cut a French stick or ciabatta into long pieces. Preheat grill and cook the pieces of bread for 1-2 minutes each side until golden brown. Rub garlic clove over one side of the toasted bread. Top with slices of cheese (Swiss cheese, Jarlsberg, gruyere, brie or taleggio). Grill the cheese until bubbling. Blanch asparagus in a boiling pot of salted water. Grill bacon or proscuitto pieces. Place some fresh cooked asparagus spears on top of the grilled cheese, then arrange crispy bacon on top. Serve immediately with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper.
Asparagi al Dragoncello
Choose asparagus spears that are even in size. Cut off the ends to even the lengths and cook the same thickness of spears together. Heat a deep, large sauté pan with one litre water. Add two pieces of fresh lemon peel and cinnamon stick. Cook the asparagus for 3-5 minutes, depending on thickness. Remove from water and drain. Arrange on a serving platter and drizzle with plenty of good quality extra virgin olive oil. Squeeze over the juice of 1 lemon, sprinkle over chopped herbs such as tarragon, chervil, basil or parsley and sprinkle with plenty of sea salt. Eat immediately.