As soon as the first spears of asparagus start to arrive, you know summer is not far away. One of nature’s culinary marvels, asparagus makes its presence felt just as winter palates begin to crave fresh, crisp flavours.
In the garden
Growing asparagus takes commitment as it will be two years before you get your first harvest and for the first few seasons of harvest it’s best to pick lightly and let the plants go to seed quite early to regenerate the corm. Once established, however, a healthy asparagus crown will be capable of producing for 15 years or more. Choose a well-drained, sunny garden spot and make sure you have cultivated a good deep soil bed – at least as deep as the blade of your spade.
In the kitchen
Even the freshest asparagus has tough stems. To remove, simply snap the asparagus and discard the tough ends. Take care not to overcook - it takes only three minutes for tender perfection. A big platter piled with freshly cooked asparagus spears drizzled with lemon-infused olive oil makes a speedy first course, but for a special treat try my stunning Asparagus, Avocado & Almonds with Sesame Citrus Dressing.
These are some of my favourite recipes for asparagus: