This week our expert guest blogger is Charlotte Scott the Food & Beverage Development Director at KUDOS our on-site catering partner.
I am a huge fan of using seasonal, British produce and what better month to start with than May/June. This time of year is the peak of the English asparagus season and I love it. It is brief season, so you must get in there quick before it all goes, but it is 100% worth it. At this time of year, all of the supermarkets and good corner shops will be selling asparagus grown in the UK (but do check the labels if in a supermarket, as they will also sell asparagus grown abroad). I am lucky enough to have friends and family in Kent, so I always try and tie in a visit to see them around this time of year – well, it would be rude not to pop to the farm and buy some freshly picked asparagus whilst down there!
My go-to place is a farm close to a small village in Kent called Biddenden – Frogs Hole Farm.
They have been growing asparagus since 1988 and have been selling direct to the customers ever since. The asparagus is graded and washed and then sold accordingly. I personally love to buy the thinner ones, as when so fresh they are so delicious just simply thrown on the BBQ or placed under the grill, drizzled with a touch of olive oil and a sprinkle of Maldon salt. When asparagus is this fresh you really don’t have to do much to it – just enjoy it as it is! It makes a wonderfully simple starter or a delicious accompaniment to a meal. Prepping them really couldn’t be easier, as you just need to break off the ends of the stalks where they get a bit woody – the best way to do this is just by hand, as you will find that they easily snap off. If the asparagus doesn’t snap where you were trying, then just move a little bit further up the stalk and try again. I love to make the most of these delicious green gems, so I keep the stalks to turn in to soup or purée. I also discovered that asparagus purée is a great alternative to guacamole in chicken fajitas, but you could really try it with anything!
When writing our Kudos menus for Central Hall Westminster, we love to base the dishes on seasonal ingredients to ensure that we are using the freshest produce available, when it is at its best. On our Spring Summer menus, there are some truly delicious asparagus dishes, such as our ‘Bacon, goats’ milk puree and pickled asparagus’ starter.
If you are keen to keep track on what ingredients are in season when, then there is no better site than Eat The Seasons. This great website is dedicated to food seasons and it’s so simple to use, as each ingredient comes up with a seasonality clock, to tell you when the prime season is and when the season is coming to an end. You can also search according to the month, which is a great tool to have if you are planning a specific event or writing menus.
Stay tuned over the next couple of weeks as I’ll be publishing a couple of asparagus recipes for you……