Spears of destiny: 17 ways to make the most of asparagus season

Spears of destiny: 17 ways to make the most of asparagus season

From tarts to salads and soups to puddings, asparagus is one of our most versatile vegetables – and right now it’s at its freshest. Here are some inspiring ideas to try at home

When asparagus season finally commences in Britain (from about the end of April to the end of June), we can often feel a bit guilty for giving those first spears anything but the simplest treatment: simmered until just done, drained and served, that’s it. Radical innovation, you might think, is best saved for the off-season, when the only available asparagus has journeyed thousands of miles and looks it. But variety doesn’t have to be complicated – there are lots of ways to liven up a serving of asparagus without overwhelming it. I don’t know exactly how many but, as usual, I stopped at 17.

Arguably even the simplest treatments aren’t foolproof – the tapered shape of an asparagus spear presents an intractable culinary problem: even after trimming, the fat bottoms are always going to take longer to cook than the pointy tips. For years I resorted to standing them up in the water for a few minutes, so the bottoms got some extra immersion, but they alway fell over as soon as I let go. One day I thought: leave the rubber band on. Then I thought: maybe that’s what the rubber band is for?

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