- 1 bunch of fresh asparagus
- 2 generous slices of unsalted butter (about 25g), melted
- Some salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 60g Isle of Mull or Loch Arthur Cheddar
- Zest of an unwaxed lemon
- Tiny grating of fresh nutmeg
- Prepare the asparagus by snapping off both ends. This clever vegetable will tell you where it’s tender and where it’s tough. Trust the snap and never be disappointed.
- Layer on a sheet of tin foil on a baking tray or a good ceramic baking dish that is large enough to allow each spear to lie flat.
- Brush the butter over the asparagus and scatter the finely grated cheese on top.
- Season with salt and pepper and then add the touch of nutmeg (you really just need a hint to give a little added earthiness) and a small amount of the finely grated lemon zest.
- Bake at gas mark 7 for about 8 to 10 minutes until the cheese is bubbling, not burnt.
- Tastes best hot but this dish can also be enjoyed cold.
Carina shares with us why asparagus plays an important role in family traditions
May is our anniversary month. Next year is the big 25 years.
Oh my goodness, I remember my parents’ 25th anniversary. I thought they were ancient! Our front living room was tiny and we all huddled in – all eight children, parents, Margaret our guardian angel, and a throng of visitors bearing gifts. My parents’ circle of friends was massive.
First generation Italians – their list of cousins and aunts was huge and they were never far away when homemade pizza was in the oven. As the youngest of such a large family almost all of my parents’ generation sadly are no longer with us. Our circle of close friends is far smaller, although the people we know are endless. My children, too, know loads of people but their closest friends they value very highly.
May is also the start of the asparagus season. It’s so exciting!
We are a seasonal business and a seasonal family. I’ve said it many times before, but why would you want to eat produce from halfway around the world that may have used vital water reserves, or even land that should be used to sustain the local community, when you can wait to enjoy fresh seasonal food? Asparagus has one of the shortest seasons of all our produce.
If we’re lucky we’ll get six to eight weeks of produce from our dear friends the Pattullo’s up in Glamis. When you think about strawberries, they can grow from May to September now, but asparagus has to be treasured – just like that handful of very special friends.
At the start of the season, asparagus is delicious eaten raw. Shaved very thinly and dressed with a little good olive oil and lemon with some freshly grated Isle of Mull Cheddar, it makes the most delicious salad.
Then there is soup – asparagus soup or a veloute, which is thickened with a little flour is one of my food emergencies, incredibly luscious creamy heavenliness. Yum! But this is only the beginning. Try lightly frying a little sliced asparagus to add to an instant omelette, or a pasta dish with lashings of cream and Parmigiano Reggiano – it’s pretty hard to beat.
This starter dish of asparagus is perfect on its own, or you can roast some fresh fish, such as cod, sole or halibut if you’re feeling flush, and enjoy it as an accompaniment.
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See more of Carina’s recipes for us here and discover a new one each month in
The Scots Magazine