Nothing tells my taste buds it is spring more than the clean taste of fresh, seasonal asparagus. Sweet, subtle and delicate, I can’t think of a better way to welcome the new warm spell we have been having – while it lasts. Traditionally blanched I think the true potential of this super green is too frequently overlooked. Asparagus really comes into its own when it is roasted. Simple and super moreish, this will revolutionise your view of this much underestimated vegetable. This alternative side dish is a great match for juicy white fish (pollack is perfect) and sweet roasted or dry-fried tomatoes. A squeeze of lemon on the fish, or a few drops of balsamic vinegar on the tomatoes polish of the meal, best eaten outside to fully appreciate the natural flavours. The tase of the asparagus is so delicate the recipe doesn’t even include garlic, or butter! A rarity with anything I put together. Also, another little tip I wouldn’t usually suggest, but whatever you do, do not drink white wine or champagne with this meal. Something in the wine neutralises the flavour of asparagus and will utterly spoil your supper.
One bunch of asparagus
A generous dousing of olive oil
A few sprigs of lemon thyme
A small pinch of sea salt (the texture combination is sensational!)
Preheat the oven to 200C. Place the asparagus in a line like on a roasting tray. Douse the spears in olive oil and toss with your hands to ensure an even coating and sprinkle on most of the lemon thyme, saving a bit to throw on fresh at the end. Place in the oven for 20 minutes until the tips of the asparagus are browned and crispy. Remove from the oven, plate up and finally sprinkle over the remaining lemon thyme. Now you are all done, it really is that simple and so worth it. This is the kind of earthly delight that just makes you happy to be alive. Who knew one could get so sentimental over asparagus? Try it for yourself, you will be surprised by the spiritual enlightenment that comes from sitting in the garden in the fresh spring air with some roast asparagus. Mother Nature’s finest!