Little lambs are leaping about, apple blossoms shower down from the trees. Flowers on my strawberry plants. Baby plants tucked into their new homes in the garden.
But the best bit? The very best bit? The very very very best bit? (Aside from the birthdays of my most precious creations, obvs!)
It’s asparagus season!
When I was but a youngin’ on the farm in British Columbia, we had wild asparagus growing around the base of the trees in the apple orchard. It was always a battle: who shall chomp first, sheep or girl? I stalked those 400 trees, waiting for the first glimpse of a little point piercing through the grass. This may well be the root of my current desire to forage. Elderflower for cordial, blackberries and damsons for jam and I just love a bit of wild garlic….oh, there is some in this weeks’ recipe, too!
I was beyond excited to find the first early cuts of asparagus at our ‘local’, Palmers Green Market, and although hubbie balked at the price, he did stump up, and I promised him something special. I could happily chow down on the divine little green wands any which way, but other, previously mentioned fusspots constantly kvetch.
Our dear friend Mr. Oliver has a rather scrum item in his ‘Jamie at Home‘….. here is my version. It is a supremely adjustable recipe, and I have served it a few of the wild birthday bashes we host this time o’ year, and it has never gone amiss. And it’s pretty damn easy, to boot!
Asparagus and Potato Pie
500 g potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
500g asparagus spears, trimmed
200g ready rolled puff pastry
50 g butter, melted
200 g grated sharp cheese
3 large eggs
284 ml double cream
wild garlic leaves
Boil up a large pot of water. I use it first to blanch my asparagus, chucking them into boiling water for about 4 minutes. Pop the green babies to the side, boil and mash your spuds. Mix in your cheese(s). I used some wicked aged cheddar, again from my local market, and some Emmental I found lurking at the back of the fridge. Go wild, and try some interesting combos! As long as you have some strength in the flavour, you’ll be fine.
Preheat your oven to 190 C. Grab an ovenproof dish, whatever shape you fancy. I used a traditional round fluted edged number this time round. Paint the dish with melted butter, then press your pastry in. I am a terrible pastry cheater, and have never been brave enough to make my own. (It IS on the list!) This is also totally fab made with filo, as Jamie does, and then you would double the butter and brush between the layers. Put your pastry aside for a mo.
Mix together the eggs and cream in a bowl, then add them to the mash mix. Sprinkle in some grated nutmeg. I used about 1/4 tsp, as I’m not a huge fan, but it does work well in this dish. Salt and pepper to taste. Then the best bits….I have some handy herb scissors, and I chopped in 4 good sized wild garlic leaves. Mix it all up, them plop into your pastry case. Arrange the asparagus spears as artfully as your dare across the top, and then brush with the rest of the melted butter.
Into the oven with her for about 20 minutes. Golden brown is our aim! Delightful with a nice green salad, served hot or cold.
Also rather nice straight from the fridge at 11:30 pm. What can I say? It was calling to me!
Now that my little delicious buds are more readily available, it shall be a free for all….I am thinking dipped into poached eggs, shaved onto salad, drizzled with homemade hollondaise…..oh the glorious gastronomical possibilities! Hark can I hear the angels singing with delight???