English asparagus is one of the highlights of spring. But have you ever tried it roasted?
This quick and easy way of preparing it brings out all the lovely flavour and is a foolproof no-mess way of cooking it. You can vary this recipe by wrapping each spear in a piece of thin ham (serrano, Parma or speck are ideal), before putting them in the oven.
The spears are regarded as a vegetable but did you know that the plant is actually related to the lily and that it has a poisonous berry?
The part we eat is incredibly nutritious, being naturally low in calories and high in dietary fibre. It also contains folic acid and four vitamins, along with essential minerals such as calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron, phosphorus, potassium, copper, manganese, selenium and chromium.
Once you've roasted the delicious spears, how do you eat them? Well, there are those who like to dip them into the yolk of a soft-boiled egg (try it with a duck egg perhaps), or dribble over a buttery Hollandaise sauce. Alternatively, they're great on the side of a plate of grilled chicken or salmon.
More lovely ways to serve asparagus:
Asparagus with frazzled eggs
Asparagus and mangetout stir-fry
Asparagus and new potato tortilla
Asparagus, pea and mint risotto
Chicken with spring vegetables
Ginger scallops with asparagus
Cheesy baked asparagus
River Cafe's asparagus frittata