Food & Drink Four easy asparagus recipes starring it raw, buttered and...

Four easy asparagus recipes starring it raw, buttered and griddled

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With our very mild winter and some good rain, I wasn’t too surprised that we got offered British asparagus in February. The traditional start of the season is St George’s Day (23 April), but growers such as Wye Valley Produce and The New Forest Fruit Co are ahead of the game, which is a great opportunity to get asparagus on our plates while avoiding imports.

You can make a bunch of asparagus go a long way in a risotto, which is especially useful at the beginning of the season when it is often a bit pricier. The recipe I share here stars leeks rather than the usual onions as they have a milder flavour and give the risotto a good colour, too. I also use the woody ends of the asparagus to give the stock extra flavour.

If you can get your hands on thick asparagus (at this time of year you can’t be too fussy), griddling is the way to go; charring the spears lightly makes them delicious to serve simply with capers and grated Parmesan.

Meanwhile, if you’re lucky enough to find yourself with a glut and need to use it up, soup is most certainly one of the best solutions. Mine is easy to make and can be served hot or cold.

I did plant a few varieties of asparagus myself last year, but I may need to get a tunnel on them to encourage growth. While my homegrown Jerusalem and globe artichokes and cardoons come back every year, and a lot of my salads self-seed, I won’t hold my breath on the asparagus – so I’ll be looking out for this seasonal treat in the shops now.

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