It’s hard to improve on asparagus served in the classic way with a hollandaise sauce or a little mayonnaise on the side. In this recipe, I’ve tried to add a spicy twist by incorporating the smoky warmth of paprika, the heat of chilli and the chargrilled kick of the barbecue.
For the grilled asparagus
green asparagus spears, woody ends removed
refined olive oil
For the vegetable crumble
baby courgettes (about 2½), pulsed in a food processor for 30 seconds
cauliflower, pulsed in a food processor for 30 seconds
banana shallot, finely diced
red chilli, finely chopped
3 large pinches
Lay five spears side by side and secure them together with two wooden skewers (thread these through one at each end, avoiding the tips, so that the spears are kept straight).
Repeat with the remaining three batches of five.
Blanch in plenty of boiling water for 3 minutes, then immediately plunge them into cold water to stop the cooking and dry thoroughly (leave them on the skewers).
Heat a griddle pan on a high heat.
Brush the skewered spears lightly with the olive oil.
When the pan is hot, lay the asparagus flat and leave for 3 minutes to gain deep griddle marks.
Turn over using tongs and griddle for another 3 minutes. If necessary do the griddling in batches; simply keep the asparagus warm in an oven set at 80ºC/Gas ¼ while you grill the remaining asparagus.
In a large sauté pan on a high heat, add the olive oil and fry the courgette for 30 seconds.
Add the cauliflower, shallot, chilli, paprika and salt, water, lemon juice, parsley, chives then remove from the heat.
Check the seasoning.
Place a spoonful of the vegetable crumble in the centre of each plate and arrange a stack of the grilled asparagus on top.
Accompanying a very special BBC TV series Raymond filmed with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, this is the story of the nation's favourite fruit and veg. You’ll find an array of mouth-watering seasonal recipes, detailed tasting notes, and valuable tips for growing your own produce from the talented gardeners of Kew. A perfect read for the green fingered gastronome.