Poached Wye Valley asparagus, roasted garlic and cannellini bean puree, King Peter ham with toasted capers and pine nuts.
Spring is the season the I think most chefs look forward to the most. Summer is bountiful, but there’s something special about coming out of winter and seeing the arrival of some of my favourite things.
Asparagus is available all year round these days but personally I don’t touch the imported stuff, it simply doesn’t match up to the short but amazing season in the UK. I have worked with Rushtons Greengrocers (my trade greengrocers) for many years now and they have sent me some wonderful Wye Valley asparagus which, along with our King Peter Ham is the star of this dish.
1 bundle British Asparagus
1 bulb garlic
1 tin cannellini beans
20g pine nuts (hazelnuts or pumpkin seeds will also work well)
Salt (maldon or another dressing salt)
Capers (nonparioli or something small is generally more flavoursome)
Set oven to 180c
Wrap garlic bulb in tinfoil, drizzled with oil and bake for 30 mins – once baked carefully open and squeeze out roasted garlic bulbs – reserve.
Finely dice shallot and sweat down in a heavy based pan until soft and translucent.
Drain the beans and rinse under the tap, add them to the pan with the onions, a glug of olive oil and the roasted garlic and gently saute for 3-4 mins.
Add a half a cup of water and cook for a further 5 minutes covered.
Blend in a food processor until smooth and creamy – season and reserve.
Toasted the seeds in a dry pan until coloured, add the capers and a little oil and fry until they start to crisp – reserve
Heat half a cup of salted water to a simmer and add the butter
Add the asparagus and cook for 3-4 until tender but firm
Spread the puree onto the plate using on off-set palette knife (if you have one)
Top with the asparagus and a drizzle of oil
Drape the slices of King Peter ham over the top
Finish with the crispy capers and pine nuts
Garnish with fresh herbs
A simple and quick dish for a warm evening with a glass of something cold and white. It can be further elevated with addition of an egg. Either poached or fried it goes beautifully with every element of this dish.
Tom Whitaker. Tempus