Monday, 9 April 2012

Spear Of The Year - English Asparagus With An Olive Oil, Garlic, Anchovies and Chilli Dip

English asparagus season last only for a short period, usually from the middle of April to the end of June. So I was rather surprised and equally excited when I I discovered them on a recent trip to London Borough Market. It seemed to be making an appearance a bit early this year.  And as any spears lover will do, I jumped at the chance of grabbing myself a couple of bundle of this delicious green shoots.

Eagered to devour the asparagus when I got home, I've decided to steam them, which to me, was the quickest and the best way of cooking them.  This way, all the nutrients and flavours are retained. I've also made a very simple dipping sauce using olive oil, anchovies, garlic and chili which was just perfect and complement the sweet juiciness of the asparagus perfectly.The whole process took less than ten minutes from start to finish, which meant that I got to taste the fantastic flavours of spring in no time at all. Oh how I love asparagus!

Ingredients (Serves 2 - 4)

14-16 asparagus spears, woody end trimmed

For the dip:
5 tbsp olive oil
8 anchovy fillets 
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 fresh red chili, cut into rings or finely chopped
freshly ground black pepper


To prepare the dip, warm the olive oil in a pan over low heat. Add the anchovies, crushed garlic and chili and continue to cook gently for 1-2 minute, stirring constantly with a spatula. The anchovies will disintegrate into the oil as it cook. Careful not the let the garlic burnt. Remove from heat and pour the dip into a small dipping dish.
Fill a wok or pan with water and bring to the boil. Place the asparagus onto a steamer and steam for 4-6 minutes, depending on the thickness of the stem, until tender. Test it by piercing the thickest part with a knife. Serves immediately with the dip on the side.


  1. the first of the english asparagus has made its appearance at the farmer's markets too (: resisted the urge to get them yet, I see you've been quick!

  2. I love asparagus and I always make sure that I'll eat as many of them as I possibly can before the season is over.



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