Tag Archives: asparagus

Slutty lunch/Simple lunch

Some time ago I wrote about the fridge slut, a dish concocted from the odds and ends in the fridge. It’s a dish that, I reckon, has a 50/50 chance of going well. There is always the very real possibility that your speculative marriage of maple syrup and spring onions is going to end in tears. But then it’s just as possible that your fridge sluttery will end in triumph.

Yesterday, buried under an avalanche of deadlines, I couldn’t face going to the shops. I boiled a potato. I fried some bacon and onion with a little thyme. I made an eye-watering dressing with English mustard and cider vinegar, then put my face in the fridge. Chives! Radishes! Salad leaves! All the above made a happy union on my plate.

But something was missing. I fried an egg. I bunged it on top then ate the whole slutty mess in one go. While watching Made In Chelsea. Ha!

*****

Today’s lunch was more civilised. Fat English asparagus boiled for a couple of minutes, tossed in melted butter and served on garlicky toast with hot smoked trout and horseradish. Somehow the slut was better.

If you were to make a fridge slut now, what would it consist of?

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Recipe | Fried goose egg with asparagus

Well, hardly a recipe. The title just about gives it away and I’m sure you could work out the rest. But the first asparagus of the year needs celebrating and celebrate I shall. Peruvian imposters had long been hogging the shelves, but as soon as that little union jack appeared on the green shoots I pounced.

Joy upon joys, I had a perfect goose egg sitting at home; rich as Mark Zuckerberg but not nearly as emetic, it just so happened that fried in butter over a medium heat it took exactly the same length of time to cook as the asparagus – about two minutes, that is, in boiling salted water. I put a lid over the frying pan for all of 30 seconds at the end, just to nudge the yolk along, and finished the asparagus with a little EVOO, salt and pepper, but this was a simple lunch that was ready in less than 5 minutes.

Serve with crusty bread, maybe a few shavings of parmesan if you fancy.

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Recipe | Chicken, prawn, and asparagus pilaff

I’m starting to wonder if leftover chicken recipes are all I have up my sleeve. The blog is inundated with them. This is largely down to the fact that Sunday night roast chicken is a fortnightly treat, thus Monday morning brings with it the promise of leftover goodies. This dish was inspired by a Nigel Slater recipe in the latest Sainsbury’s magazine. Cheers Nige.

Serves 1
2 shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
1 stick celery, roughly chopped
100g brown basmati rice, soaked in cold water
Chicken stock
Asparagus, roughly chopped
Leftover chicken
A handful of cooked prawns
Parsley and mint
Half a lemon
Olive oil, salt, pepper

– Sweat the shallot and celery in olive oil until softened. Drain and rinse the rice under cold running water for a minute or so, before adding to the pan with salt and pepper. Add enough stock to cover by a couple of centimetres, bring to the boil, cover and simmer gently for 25-30 minutes.

– Meanwhile, bring a pan of salted water to the boil and add the asparagus. Simmer for 2 minutes, drain and run under a cold tap for a minute.

– When the rice is cooked add the chicken, asparagus, and prawns, along with some chopped parsley and mint, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Warm through and serve.

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Recipe | Boiled duck egg with asparagus soldiers

Have we all had enough of asparagus yet? I certainly haven’t. For me it’s the king of spring vegetables, transformer of the banal into the beatific. Throw a duck egg into the mix and you have either a deeply indulgent lunch or a simple dinner party starter.

Serves 1

1 duck egg
A handful of asparagus, trimmed and washed
Salt and pepper
A little melted butter (optional)

– Bring two pans of water to the boil. To the first carefully add the duck egg and simmer for 5 minutes. (If using a hen’s egg boil for 3-4).

– After the egg has been simmering for 2 minutes add the asparagus to the other pan along with a pinch of salt. Simmer for 3-4 minutes, removing the duck egg when appropriate. Drain the asparagus and serve immediately, with a few twists of pepper and a pinch of sea salt and, if feeling particularly self-indulgent, a pot of melted butter.

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Recipe | Wild garlic risotto with roasted asparagus and scallops

I initially wanted to do this with a poached duck egg instead of scallops, but was unable to find any. (I did however find a frigging great ostrich egg for nigh on £20 – what on earth would you do with it? I’m intrigued.) The scallops work really well, but should you do it with a poached egg replace the creme fraiche with Parmesan.

Serves 2

A bunch of asparagus
2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
25g butter
1 shallot, peeled and finely chopped
1 stick celery, finely chopped
160g risotto rice
125ml dry white wine
1.2 litre hot vegetable/chicken stock
1 tbsp creme fraiche
A bunch of wild garlic
Zest of half a lemon
6 plump scallops
Olive oil, salt, pepper

– Remove the scallops from the fridge. Preheat the oven to 190C. Toss the asparagus in olive oil and the sliced garlic, season with salt and pepper.

– Meanwhile melt the butter in a saucepan and gently sweat the shallot and celery until soft and translucent. Season, and add the rice. Crank up the heat and stir for 2 minutes before adding the wine. Simmer until reduced then add a ladle of stock. Simmer until absorbed by rice and continue adding stock for 15 minutes, stirring regularly.*

– Bung the asparagus in the preheated oven. Finely chop the wild garlic and add to the risotto. Cook for another couple of minutes before tasting the rice. It should be almost there with just a wee bit of bite to it. Adjust the seasoning before adding a final ladle of stock, lemon zest and creme fraiche. Turn off the heat and leave whilst you cook the scallops (keep stirring every now and then).

– Heat a little oil in a frying pan until hot (but not quite smoking) and add the scallops. Fry for 60 seconds on each side before serving with the risotto and asparagus. Italians can be very sniffy about having cheese with fish but if you want to add Parmesan I say go for it. It’s your dinner.

*NB with risotto you don’t have to slavishly stir it. American chef Mario Batali suggests that a bit of sticking is fine, as when you come to scrape up the rogue bits of rice you break down the starch, making for a creamier risotto.

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