OMG - spring is finally here and the foodie milestone for me is the arrival of British asparagus. I found a bunch in my local greengrocers from the Wye Valley just a few miles up the road. I've gone all out and paired it with freshly picked crab meat and a home made herb mayo. This is less a recipe, more an assembly of good ingredients, and nothing wrong with that. Some musings on asparagus:
1) Thick ones are better than thin ones
2) The heads should be dry and plump, the stems should not have a trace of wrinkle through dehydration.
3) Buy British in season, and don't buy any out of season - Peruvian asparagus is just not cricket.
4) Trim the bases, but not excessively so. People are over paranoid about fibrous stems, just nibble down until you hit a woody bit.
5) With a small knife, do remove the 'scales' lower down on the stems, they can be a bit tough. I don't bother to peel them - why would you?
6) Cook to your taste. I like mine when the heads just start to wobble about when held by the base. If you like yours more crisp or soft, then cook more or less (but don't murder them please!)
7) I've not found asparagus to enhance the libido, but it's smell can be apparent in your urine. There is a great anecdote that Gentlemen's clubs in the 1800s would put up signs to encourage "Gentlemen not to urinate in the umbrella stands during asparagus season". How wonderfully British!
A bunch of British asparagus
A pack of fresh picked crab meat - 1/2 white, 1/2 brown, 200g
1 free range egg yolk
100ml vegetable oil
1 heaped tsp dijon mustard
A good squeeze of lemon juice
A few sprigs of tarragon, dill and chives picked and chopped
Salt and pepper
With a whisk beat the egg yolk, a squeeze of lemon, a pinch of salt and pepper and the dijon together in a bowl. Slowly dribble in the oil beating all the time until all the oil is incorporated and you have a mayonnaise (it is that easy!). Add your herbs and set aside.
Pass the brown crab meat through a sieve and pick through the white to remove any fragments of shell.
Boil/Steam the asparagus for approx four minutes (or more/less depending on how soft or crisp you like it). Toast your bread, butter it, serve up.