If there is one thing this lockdown has made us do, it is to look again at home-grown vegetables. Our local farmers’ market is still open every Wednesday, albeit with fewer stalls. A few weeks ago we had a beautiful romanesco cauliflower, which we roasted with olive oil, chilli and garlic.
Last week we had asparagus, which is in season. Junior 3 was so excited he promptly took charge and made roasted asparagus with almonds, capers and dill.
It was a wonderful dish but he kept on saying it would have been better with flaked almonds instead of the pine nuts substitute. It is a very fine line between perfection and pedantry, but I guess it is better to care about something than not. Actually we did not even have dill but made do with the wispy fronds from the top of a fennel bulb.
This week we have more asparagus, some flaked almond and even dill, so here is our second try
The original recipe is from Ottolenghi’s SIMPLE cookbook. Here is the recipe as I would make it.
For the Asparagus:
400g asparagus (trimmed weight)
3 tablespoons olive oil
20 g unsalted butter
20 g flaked almonds
30 g small capers, rinsed and dried
10 g dill, roughly chopped
Maldon sea salt and black pepper
How to Make:
Preheat the oven to 220°C / 430 °F.
Trim the asparagus by cutting off the woody ends and peeling the lower half of the stalks.
Place the asparagus on a baking tray and drizzle over 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Roast for 15 minutes or until the asparagus is soft and starting to brown. Transfer to a serving plate and set aside.
Heat the butter over a low heat in a small saucepan. Add in the almonds and fry, stirring frequently, until they turn golden-brown.
Remove the almonds from the butter and sprinkle over the asparagus.
Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the saucepan. Add the capers and fry, stirring continuously, until they have opened up and become crisp.
Pour the capers and oil over the asparagus.
Sprinkle on some flaked sea salt, black pepper and finally the dill.
Our favourite way to eat asparagus is actually the simplest: grilled with some olive oil and served with a sprinkling of flaked sea salt and shaved parmesan. Parmesan is not always available since this lockdown began so we just use it on top of pasta now. Cooked this way, the asparagus is the perfect accompaniment for pasta cooked with garlic, anchovy and tomato paste and also with some focaccia dipped in olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Finally, here are a few more photos of the romanesco cauliflower. It was thing of beauty and we could not stop admiring its pattern. I won’t say too much about fractals but will add that looking at the cauliflower made Mr Gochugaru, who loves Maths, very happy indeed.