SO AT THE MARKET LAST WEEK, I WAS LUCKY ENOUGH TO GET A WHOLE HEAP OF GORGEOUS SPRING ASPARAGUS!
The growers had cut it only that morning, and it was so lovely and fresh that I got a little bit excited... and bought four massive bunches... (guess what we're eating for breakfast, lunch and dinner this week!)
Anyway, it was also a perfect excuse to do another Easy Meal Ideas series with it as the star!
In case you don't know already, my Easy Meal Ideas series is all about easy ways to brighten up boring midweek meals.
Don't forget - all these ideas are 'to taste' - so seriously, taste away and adapt them to suit your family, substitute ingredients, vary the flavors, be creative and make them your own!
So here we go!
1. ASPARAGUS WITH GARLIC & BREADCRUMBS
TO MAKE: Lightly steam asparagus, then toss in butter and a little minced garlic. Serve sprinkled with toasted breadcrumbs.
This is a really simple way to serve asparagus, and the fresh garlic really lifts it! Easy enough for weeknights, but elegant enough if you're having people over for dinner.
Serve with... beautiful with fish, especially salmon or seafood.
2. GRILLED ASPARAGUS WITH BALSAMIC
TO MAKE: Rinse asparagus under cold water and place on a baking tray. Grill until tender. Toss in good olive oil and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.
Again, this is so simple, but tastes amazing. Grilled asparagus can end up burnt on the outside and crunchy in the middle, but, I find if I rinse it under water first, the water steams off and cooks it, then it gets a little crispness under the grill, and ends up perfectly cooked.
You also don't need to add oil this way - a win win!
Serve with... steak and homemade fries - the balsamic will enhance the whole dish!
3. CRUMBED ASPARAGUS WITH MAYO
TO MAKE: Dip trimmed spears in beaten egg and coat with panko crumbs. Spread on a baking tray, season with salt and pepper and bake in a moderate oven until golden. Serve with good quality, whole egg mayonnaise.
I love using panko crumbs for this dish, as they're super light and stay crispy, and you don't need to use any oil.
My little country supermarket has them in the Asian food section, so they shouldn't be hard to find. That said, this would be lovely with plain breadcrumbs too!
Serve with... pan-fried chicken and if you're doing a sauce, just omit the mayo, and dip them in the sauce.
4. ASPARAGUS WITH ANCHOVY CREAM
TO MAKE: In a small bowl, mix together some sour cream, a few minced anchovies and white pepper. Lightly steam asparagus, and serve with the cream.
For all the anchovy lovers, this is truly delicious - and it's best eaten with your fingers too!
Serve with... on it's own as an appetizer, or with chicken or heavier fish like tuna, swordfish etc.
5. GRILLED ASPARAGUS WITH PROSCIUTTO
TO MAKE: Cut prosciutto slices in half lengthwise. Wrap each piece around a spear of asparagus, and place on a baking tray. Grill or roast until tender and serve immediately.
Asparagus and prosciutto are a classic! You can easily substitute the prosciutto for pancetta or ham, but you may need a toothpick to hold everything together while it cooks.
Serve with... lamb - either pan-fried or roasted. Also great on top of a simple chicken and herb risotto.
Well I know what I'll be doing with the remaining bucket load of asparagus I bought! I hope this gives you a few ideas too :)
If you make any of these, or make your own variation up, I'd love to hear about it in the comments or see a few photos!
All the best,