Those delicate green tips are just starting to puncture the surface, so it's not long now before I can get my hands on some of early spring’s most prized crop. Imagining how I'm going to eat my first spears of the year always makes me act like someone possessed!
The simplest preparations always seem best, blanched and tossed in a little butter, salt and pepper; adding a poached egg and some hollandaise sauce; or as an accompaniment to a seared piece of salmon, or roasted chicken. Any trimmings or stalks can be sliced thinly, wilted in a pan and blended with some peas, a few leaves of spinach and hot milk, then cooled quickly to make a vibrant cold soup.
When I was about 12 I remember running back home from the allotment with my brother and sister as fast as possible so that we could cook the asparagus we had just picked, thinking that it was going to turn into something poisonous if it took too long to touch the boiling water. The change is fortunately not that drastic, but the sugars do gradually transform to starch after harvesting, altering the taste over a few days from a delicious tender sweetness to a dehydrated bitter disappointment.
The advantage of picking, preparing and blanching our own asparagus all in the same morning prevents this deterioration and allows us to serve one of Britain's best vegetables at its peak. The more the gardeners pick, the more menus it will appear on, and this year Tom is forcing a whole bed to produce the white variety too. I can't wait!
George and his team look forward to welcoming you to the restaurant very soon, to book please call 01342 810567.
In the Garden News
Tom also gets excited about asparagus, he shares how best to grow them and reveals that this year we can expect the white variety for the first time too…
At the Manor News
We invite you to explore the stunning tulips in the historic gardens at Gravetye Manor this April and receive a Burgon & Ball trowel with our compliments...