It’s that time of year when your thoughts turn from winter hibernation to spring sunshine, from slow cooked masterpieces that bubble away on a cold day to alfresco picnics featuring lots of light and crunchy salads.
Yes it’s spring when your garden springs to life and there’s a new assortment of wonderful primavera vegetables to choose from at the markets, including fresh asparagus on the table.
So when Rosemarie asked me whether I wanted to cook and blog about some beautiful fresh asparagus, it was a big yes.
And it was a good excuse to dust off the barbecue and get grilling on the deck. The wonderful big spears were simply brushed with extra virgin olive oil and then thrown on the sizzling grate.
They take no time at all and need only a simple seasoning of salt and pepper plus the zing of lemon juice. Serve with steak because sometimes simple is best.
But there were still a couple more bunches supplied by the Asparagus Council which represent a group of Aussie asparagus growers who produce more than 95% of Australia’s asparagus.
So what else could I do – I turned to the wok. This recipe is an old favourite – Spirit House’s Sesame Lemon Chicken with Ginger, Soy and Mirrin from their first cookbook – Thai Cooking by Helen Brierty and Annette Fear. It’s great for serving a group when you are a little unsure of much chilli can be tolerated or just how adventurous the diners will be. But you still want lots of flavour and it looks great on the plate – lots of crisp fresh vegetables, the warmth of fresh ginger, a citrus undertone and the wonderful finish of toasted sesame seeds.
Down to my last bunch and thoughts turned to a springtime asparagus tart – great with a fresh tossed salad.
There’s a bit of blind baking to be done and nutmeg to be grated before you can add in the egg cream mixture. I just used store bought puff pastry because when the asparagus is fresh, you want to make this tart as quickly as possible.
The rectangular tart plan is a wonderful shape because you can lay out your spears in tight upright formation which looks really appealing. One of the spears decided it wanted to escape!
When the daffodils and blossom trees are out in the Canberra gardens and asparagus is on the table – it really feels like we have left the frosty mornings behind. Peel off those winter woolies and defrost outside in the sunshine with an easy, breezy tart.
Short of an asparagus recipe idea ? There’s no need because the Asparagus Council have pulled together a recipe library of asparagus done every which way. The photos alone will have you reaching for your first bunch of spring green goodness.
Writer’s Bio: Heather is a journalist/PR person who is really a frustrated cook. In her spare time, she likes to cook (and eat), learn how to grow vegetables, sniff out bargains at garage sales and spend time with her partner. She’s done everything from reporting from far flung locations, lived in other countries, run a market stall and volunteer in a community kitchen.
**Travel and Beyond thanks the Australian Asparagus Council for the lovely box of asparagus that enabled us to cook up some delicious meals. All opinions our own.