HELLO everyone. It’s just about asparagus season, one of the most fleeting and enjoyable of the year.
I honestly get very giddy when I know those little emerald spears are about to hit the shelves. Just as I’m picking the first shoots of wild garlic, I know that in a couple of weeks, the English asparagus will be about. But not for long!
And this is as it should be. Many of you will be aware of Gordon Ramsay’s recent tirade against non-seasonal food, and to a large extent I’m with him. The fact that his statement was made in his usual clumsy potty-mouthed way had, I’m sure, absolutely nothing to do with the fact that his new television series was about to start, oh no.
But essentially he’s right. We really shouldn’t be eating Mexican strawberries at Christmas. Not only do they taste foul and watery, but the environmental impact of the global fruit and vegetable trade is detrimental to the planet. Whatever you think of the climate change debate, and many would say it’s already too late, I’m just calling for a little common sense. Eat what’s around you, it’s so much better. Let’s re-christen it Home Economics! There’s much excitement in waiting for the first strawberries from a local pick-your-own (or better still, your own garden), for the carrier bag of rhubarb dropped off by a neighbour, and in the beautifully brief period at this time of year, when the asparagus spears reach their peak. Don’t worry, they’ll be back next year…
A sort of open tart this week. This recipe is simplicity itself, and really allows the asparagus to shine. The crisp disc of buttery onion-loaded pastry acts as a textural foil to the crisp, clean asparagus, and the chilled potato cream lends a little earthiness to the whole dish.
Stephen Jackson is chef and co-owner of the award-winning Weaver’s Shed in Golcar.