Asparagus is here, it’s in abundance, and it’s very good.
Did you know this stuff is quite hard to harvest? The growers need to be patient as they only get a good crop on their third year.
And did you also know that the bigger the spear, the more flavoursome it is?
This spring vegetable is a flowering perennial plant species once classified as the lily family along with onion and garlic, but is now in the Asparagaceae family.
Only the young asparagus shoots are commonly eaten, and once the buds open, the shoots turn woody quite quickly.
Asparagus is high in water, low in calories and sodium and is a good source of Vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium and zinc, and a great source of dietary fibre and protein.
Asparagus is in abundance right now, and available each Saturday from Donald Smith and Melissa Pure Fresh Honey while stocks last. Come in and get some.
Recipe by Ellacure restaurant
- 500g dry Ricotta
- 1 egg yolk
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 6g salt
- 1 beetroot
- Roughly 250g plain flour
- 10g butter
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 2 spears of asparagus cut into 2cm lengths and blanched
- 20g mild blue cheese
- 1 pair of latex gloves (so your hands don’t become purple)
– Preheat oven to 160°C.
– Coat beetroot in olive oil.
– Place into a roasting tray, cover in foil and place in the oven for 1 hour or until you can insert a knife with no resistance.
– Remove and let cool.
– Place a pot of water on to boil.
– Once beetroot is cool, put on gloves, peel and grate the beetroot.
– Place grated beetroot into a tea towel and squeeze out the juice.
– Keep the juice and 1tbsp of grated beetroot aside.
– Add the remaining grated beetroot, egg yolk, lemon zest and salt to your ricotta. Mix well.
– Add flour and mix until combined. The dough should stick to your hands, but not leave any stuck to your hands.
– Separate the dough into 2 batches.
– Flour the bench and roll the dough into a long snake, about 1 ½ cm thick.
– Cut into 1cm thick pieces.
– Drop the gnocchi into the boiling water and wait for it to rise to the surface.
– Once risen, let the water return to boiling (approx.. 3 mins).
– Scoop out gnocchi or drain water and place gnocchi into ice water until cool. Drain.
– In a non-stick pan, place a small amount of butter and 20ml olive oil (for one serve).
– Place on heat until butter is melted.
– Place 16 pieces of gnocchi into the pan and continually toss the gnocchi to brown the outside and reheat.
– Once some colour appears and the gnocchi is hot all the way through, add the 1tbsp of grated beetroot and 20ml of the kept beetroot juice. Stir. The juice will reduce and coat the gnocchi, making it a bright purple.
– Add the blanched asparagus and toss.
– Place into a serving bowl and crumble the blue cheese over the top.