There’s a lot of things about spring which are pretty awesome. One of them is the arrival of lots of spiky green spears in the supermarkets. British asparagus has a fine reputation which is greatly deserved but unfortunately the season is only two months long. It just means we need to make the most of it when it’s here!
With that in mind I rushed eagerly to the veg section when we were doing the weekly shop on Sunday only to find half a spear left in the section marked “asparagus bundles”. Most disappointing. There were still two packets of the plastic encased variety though (plus a massive amount from Peru and Thailand) so I grabbed them and decided as one packet was thin spears and another was thick tips I would cook them two different ways for an asparagus celebration post.
I’ve craved roast pork for a while so I grabbed a small pork loin joint to go with the asparagus. I would simply roast it then make a gravy from the juices while it rested.
The asparagus I would cook two ways. The thin spears I boiled for about 4 minutes then drained and added a small knob of butter to the pan so it melted and coated them. The thick tips I fried in olive oil for 5 minutes. If I’d had some parma ham I would probably have wrapped them in that first.
Frying, grilling and roasting asparagus is all very good. But if I’m honest it doesn’t really get much better than fresh asparagus boiled for a few minutes with some melted butter. It’s deliciously sweet and tender. Perfect spring food with its vibrant green colour.
The pork was pretty good as well (even though I screwed up the crackling).
10 thick asparagus tips
10 thin asparagus spears
1 pork loin joint
Fresh parsley, torn
500ml chicken stock
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Score the fatty top of the pork joint, pat dry with a paper towel and rub in plenty of salt and pepper.
Season the rest of the joint and drizzle a little olive oil over it then place in the oven for 30 minutes per 500g plus 30 minutes (so an hour in total for 500g joint, an hour and 15 mins for 750g).
Take it out and rest if for 10 minutes before serving.
Boil the thin spears in boiling, salted water for 4 minutes.
Drain the water then return the spears to the pan and turn off the heat.
Drop a small knob of butter into the pan and let the residual heat melt it as you swirl the asparagus round to coat it in the butter.
For the thick tips heat some olive oil in a pan then add the tips and season with a little salt and pepper.
Fry for 5 minutes until they’ve taken on some colour and started to soften.
Finally for the gravy remove the joint from the roasting tray and place over a high heat.
Deglaze with the stock, add a few sprigs of thyme, 7 or 8 juniper berries and a handful of torn parsley leaves then let it reduce to a thick gravy.
Stir in the resting juices and strain into a jug to serve with the carved pork and asparagus.