Oh, asparagus, how I wish I’d embraced thee earlier. I spent my entire childhood and most of my early adulthood avoiding the green spears, until I finally came round to their unusual charms in my early twenties. Similar story with broad beans and I know many share the same history – did we have to kill off a few taste buds to be able to appreciate what had previously tasted too intense?
Whatever. The dish that proved my gateway to the joys of asparagus was the one pictured – parmesan pancakes with asparagus and prosciutto with aoili. My mum made them – I think she’d ripped the recipe out of The Listener which was one of her go-to sources of recipes. The original used prosciutto but last night I had all the other ingredients bar that so I made do with bacon, and twas just as good, really. Oh and threw some thin slices of Polish sausage on the plate, too.
All you do is make savoury pancakes with a good dose of grated parmesan in them -make them nice and think and small, about 10cm diametre. Grill the bacon and blanch the asparagus spears, grate some extra parmesan and whip up some aoili. Or, like I did last night, make a really quick cheat’s aoili – Best Food mayo mixed with chopped garlic and lemon juice. Pop it all on the table and let everyone compile their own pancakes. Easy and delicious.
*The typical method of ridding asparagus spears of their woody ends, snapping them at the point they seem to ask you to, can often see you throwing out a good few cm of decent spear. Better to take a knife to them and find that weak point more accurately.