DAVID WOODS: It's the season to make the most of British asparagus
British asparagus is one of the hero vegetables of spring and David Woods, executive head chef of the Sofitel London Gatwick, can't get enough of it.
There is something about asparagus that always enhances a dish. Put a few perfectly cooked spears on a plate with a poached egg, and you have a lunch fit for a king. British asparagus is just starting to appear on the shelves, but grab it while you can as the season is short.
This vegetable is so versatile you could probably eat it a different way each day of that short season. Try it in soups, in salads, topping a risotto, or chargrilled on the barbecue. It can be the star of the show just drizzled with a lemon and chive vinaigrette and served with crusty bread.
I have served it here with a fillet of salmon seasoned with beetroot powder for a pretty contrast to the green spears.
La Brasserie is Sofitel’s 2 AA rosette restaurant. To book a table call 01293 567070 or email [email protected] Follow us on Twitter @SofitelLondonGA. Share your recipes on Instagram by tagging @SofitelLondonGA.
Salmon fillet with beetroot powder, asparagus and poached egg
2 skinless salmon fillets
1 raw beetroot
Salt and pepper
2tsp olive oil for frying
Bunch of asparagus – about 16 spears
2 fresh eggs
Make the beetroot powder by thinly slicing the beetroot and placing on a tray in a cool oven, 60C, for three to four hours until dry. Blitz to a powder in a blender.
Pat gently onto the top of the salmon fillets. Season with salt and pepper.
Heat the oil in small non-stick frying pan and add the fillets. Cook for a minute and a half, then turn over for another minute and a half. The salmon should still be very pink in the middle. Leave to rest in a very gentle oven (65C) while you cook the asparagus and poached egg.
Trim off the woody stalks of the asparagus and place in a pan of salty, boiling water. Cook for two minutes. Drain and keep warm.
Meanwhile, poach the eggs. Bring a pan of water to the boil, at least three inches deep. Add a pinch of salt and a tablespoon of vinegar. Swirl the water gently to create a vortex. Crack the eggs into the centre and bring back to just off the boil. Cook for two to three minutes until the white is firm and the yolk is soft. To serve, divide the asparagus between two plates, top with the salmon and poached egg.
Asparagus should be cooked in salty water to preserve its bright green colour. Use 15g of salt to every 500ml. The beetroot powder will keep in an airtight jar for a couple of weeks. Use to sprinkle over soups as a garnish on top of cream cheese on toasted sour dough, or even in bread dough if you are making your own.
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