You know that spring is knocking on the door when the new season asparagus hits the markets. All through winter you see asparagus on the supermarket and green grocers shelves from Peru and the Philippines, but despite the fact that I love asparagus I refuse to be tempted. One of the joys of eating locally and seasonally is the anticipation of new season produce. Well known American chef Mario Batali was quite right when he said:
“You know when you get your first asparagus, or your first acorn squash, or your first really good tomato of the season, those are the moments that define the cook’s year. I get more excited by that than anything else.”
So now I have two bunches of the finest asparagus just waiting to be eaten. Contemplating how to eat it has been the hardest – a simple quick pan fry, or steamed and served with a poached egg. In the end I decided to bake it as the oven was already on roasting the freshly dug kipfler potatoes tossed in new garlic and rosemary from the garden. A baking tray lined with baking paper, a drizzle of olive oil and a grind of pepper, ten minutes in a 180 degree oven and they’re ready.
I finished them off with a sprinkle of sea salt, a crumble of feta cheese and a few bits of preserved lemon.
We also had some pan fried brussels sprouts and cauliflower, simply seasoned with olive oil, salt and pepper and steamed baby carrots. In the end the veggies were the stars of the meal and the pork belly almost an after thought.