Asparagus season is just kicking off and we’re jumping straight in with a gorgeous little sharing dish for two! Asparagus has a fairly short season running from late April to June although the quality starts to wane towards the end of May. Asparagus is a super versatile spring green holding up incredibly well to lots of bold flavours.
We will be using the Gozney Roccbox to cook our asparagus, the Roccbox is a brilliant little bit of kit! The Gozney Roccbox is a restaurant-grade portable outdoor pizza oven, reaching an incredible 950°F/500°C. It is built using the same design, engineering and grade of materials as Gozney’s professional ovens, used by some of the world’s best restaurants.
We’ve had a brilliant time using our Roccbox, of course there have been plenty of pizzas consumed but there’s more to the Roccbox than just pizzas.
The possibilities are endless when it comes to asparagus and I really implore you to experiment with new bolder flavour pairings, moving away from hollandaise, poached eggs or as a side to fish.\
We’re going to keep it nice and simple today, offsetting the deep charred asparagus with an intensely creamy burrata finished with a wild garlic oil to bring everything together and toasted ciabatta to mop all the creamy butteryness from the plate.
For the Wild Garlic Oil:
A good handful of wild garlic leaves
For the Asparagus:
1 bunch of english asparagus
A drizzle of rapeseed oil
Salt and pepper
A few slices of ciabatta or sourdough bread
Wild garlic leaves
Flowering ground ivy (optional)
Making the Wild Garlic Oil
Pick a good handful of wild garlic leaves and a few flowers too for garnish whilst we’re at it. Wash lightly in cold running water and drain. Put the wild garlic flowers aside to use as a garnish later.
Bring a pan of water to the boil and blanch the wild garlic for a few seconds, remove the wild garlic from the water and plunge into ice cold water to refresh. You can reserve this cooking water to blanch the asparagus in the next step. Drain the wild garlic leaves and dry thoroughly.
Roughly chop the wild garlic leaves and place into a blender with an equal amount in weight of rapeseed oil. Blitz the wild garlic to begin with to roughly chop, scraping down the sides as needed with a spatula. Continue to blend for a minute or two. You can if you like at this point pass the wild garlic oil through a fine sieve but it’s also just fine as it is.
Stored in the fridge your wild garlic oil will last for a week. You can alternatively pour it into an ice cube tray and freeze. Once frozen you can remove the oil from the tray and place into a zip lock bag and store for up to 3 months. Defrost slowly at room temperature as and when needed.
Roasting the Asparagus
First things first let’s get the Roccbox lit, whether you’re using wood or gas this little chap needs at least half an hour to get up to temp.
Bring a pan of salted water to the boil.
Click off the base of the asparagus and plunge into the boiling water and leave to cook for a minute. Remove from the heat and place straight into ice cold water to refresh.
Place the asparagus into a bowl, drizzle with rapeseed oil and add a pinch of salt and pepper.
Once your Roccbox has reached a temp of 350.c place a skillet inside the oven and allow it to get stinking hot!
Tip the asparagus into the super hot skillet and place back inside the Roccbox. Let the asparagus char and blister, give the skillet a shake every now and again.
After a couple of minutes, throw in a little knob of butter and toss the pan to coat the asparagus.
Remove the asparagus from the Roccbox and place onto a plate to cool slightly.
Place the ciabatta or sourdough into the skillet and let it soak up the buttery cooking juices. Flash the bread in the Roccbox to toast lightly on both sides.
Remove the burrata from its packaging and allow the excess whey to drain away, place in the centre of your serving platter.
Scatter the Roccbox roast asparagus around the burrata, season again with a touch of sea salt flakes.
Drizzle the wild garlic oil over the asparagus, garnish with the wild garlic flowers and flowering sprigs of ground ivy.
Serve up the warm toasted bread on the side and maybe a cheeky bottle of Albury Estate Classic Cuvee.
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Before you set off there are a few foraging guidelines to keep in mind to avoid any injury to yourself or the natural habitats you encounter.
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Always forage small amounts for personal use, leaving adequate produce for animals and insects to indulge on, as well as other foragers!
IF IN DOUBT, LEAVE IT OUT.
Only eat something if you are 100% sure of its identification, as some plants can make you unwell, or worse still – some are even deadly. Books are very helpful for this; one of our favourites is ‘Wild Flowers of Britain and Ireland‘, ‘Food for Free‘ and ‘The Forager’s Handbook‘. Websites and social media groups can also be helpful, but make sure you trust the source entirely before you eat your finds.
PICK FROM PLENTIFUL PLANTS
Only forage from plants that have produced plenty of fruit as the plant depends on this to reproduce.
WATCH YOUR STEP
Choose carefully how you access your foraging finds. Avoid crushing plants and habitats underfoot whilst hunting for wild foods.
LEAVE ROOM FOR RE-GROWTH
Avoid taking too much twig and never uproot a plant so that it is always able to regrow after you have foraged from it.
Your foraging kit should include – a small legal carry knife or secateurs, gloves to protect your hands from plants that may sting (the humble nettle) and thorns, and a basket/container or three. Don’t forget to wear long trousers and long-sleeved tops to protect your arms and legs from natural nasties such as ticks (find out more about ticks here.)
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