St George’s day here in the UK marks the beginning of the asparagus season. Don’t you just love it when a season for an ingredient “officially” begins? We love seasonal food as you know. And we also love asparagus. They are after all what makes us feel like we are properly into spring.

Obviously there are many things one can do with this green spring vegetable.

But it so happens that we just received from Greece the most amazing ingredient to pair with asparagus.

Spaghetti made with emmer wheat, or as we call it in Greece, zea. The naming of zea links to the idea of “giving life”. So that should tell you something. It is also one of the first crops domesticated in the Near East. This ancient grain is high in fiber and has a low GI. But besides being good for your body, it is also very tasty. Think beyond what you would expect from your average pasta. Long strings of delicate pasta with a nutty, warm flavour. Is there anything better? Well yes! A zingy pairing with asparagus.

By the way, this pasta will go beautifully with a mushroom sauce or a ragu. But that’s for another blog post.

Serves four

1 pack of Emmer wheat spaghetti
1 large bunch of asparagus
1 large lemon, both juice and zest
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt
Pepper
Grated graviera  or parmesan cheese (optional)

Place your pasta in a large pot with boiling salted water. As the pasta is boiling, place a small colander on top of your pot and steam your asparagus. If you prefer, you can steam them separately or blanch them for a few minutes in boiling water. Set asparagus aside and once you are able to handle them, cut in bite size pieces. Or leave whole if you prefer.

When the pasta is al dente drain. Beware, artisan pasta cooks much faster than store-bought.

In a large bowl, place your pasta, asparagus, lemon juice and zest and drizzle with plenty of olive oil. Add some grated graviera cheese (or parmesan) if using. Season with salt and pepper and stir until everything is well combined. Taste and add more lemon juice or salt if needed.

Serve warm. But this specific pasta dish is actually delicious served cold. Leftovers for lunch anyone?

 

 


Brilliant video featuring our delicious Kalamata olives. Thank you Tom Hunt for the amazing recipe and presentation. This dish is available on the menu at Poco Bristol this month!

All you need for this mouthwatering Spartan tapenade is 75g Kalamata olives and a dash of extra virgin olive oil! Watch the video at GrowEatGather; an independent online publication devoted to celebrating the wealth of locally grown ingredients and honouring the good people who work hard to grow, supply and cook real food across the United Kingdom.


Finally the asparagus season has begun!

Asparagus is considered by many to be the queen of vegetables and one of nature’s superfoods! It is a member of the lily family and a distant cousin of the leek and onion. Asparagus is a highly prized vegetable which, unfortunately, has a relatively short season of just 10 weeks.

It gets its name from the ancient Greek ‘aspharagos’ which originates from the Persian word ‘asparag’ meaning sprout, stalk or shoot. Asparagus was popular in ancient Greece for its medicinal and gastronomic qualities, as well as for its aphrodisiac powers! Hippocrates used it for medicinal purposes such as the treatment of  diarrhoea and urinary problems.

Asparagus is full of vitamins A, B and C, great source of iron, and full of fibre and folic acid. It’s great for the heart, boosts your immune system and is believed to help detoxify the body.

Steamed or lightly boiled asparagus served with one of our early harvest olive oils, makes a mouthwatering, health boosting salad or side dish! Lets enjoy the asparagus season while it lasts…