Monday, 21 May 2012

Oh Blog! I have forsaken you ...  But I'm back now bearing gifts of recipes from a couple of recent evenings.

In truly seasonal style, we have been consuming Asparagus as if on Death Row. Sad to say that our own crop has been a complete disaster this year; we actually thought that all of the plants had died but there is a glimmer of hope for next year after one spear poked its head through yesterday. It's our 3rd year, so we were expecting a decent harvest this year but it's not to be. We're going to leave them alone this year, even if we do get a few spears. Give a good covering in manure and then cross our fingers for next year.

I've sadly seen quite a lot of imported Asparagus in the green grocers' and supermarkets this season so maybe the supert wet Spring that we've had has had a detrimental effect on the home grown stocks.

But ... we did manage to get a bunch from the local green grocer's stall plus some more from our friends Fen and James patch. In fact, we managed to get a decent bounty from their fridge as they emptied prior to heading off on holiday. Result!

Asparagus & Quail Egg Salad
Serves 2 as a main course salad

Bunch of Asparagus
6 Quail Eggs
4 slices Serrano Ham (Parma would work too)
Breadcrumbs (Panko is you have them)
One chicken egg, beaten
Manchego (or similar cheese)
Vegetable Oil
White wine vinegar
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sea Salt
Black Pepper

Make sure everything is at room temperature.

  1. Bring a pan of water to the boil, boil the Quail eggs for no longer than 2 minutes. Remove from the boiling water and cool them down by putting them in cold water with a few ice cubes.
  2. Cut the Asparagus. Woody stalk ends removed first then Spears to about 6cm and the rest of the stalks into 4cm pieces.
  3. Tear the Serrano into strips.
  4. When cooled, peel the Quail eggs. Dunk them into the beaten (chicken) egg and then roll them in the breadcrumps. Cover them as much as possible with the crumbs.
  5. Mix about 3 tablespoons of Olive Oil and White Wine Vinegar together, with a couple of drops of Balsamic, a good pinch of Salt and a few generous twists of Black Pepper.
  6. Boil a pan of water.
  7. Heat about 2cm of Vegetable Oil in a heavy saucepad / wok and fry the eggs. Keep them moving to cook them evenly.
  8. Arrange a very generous couple of handfuls of Watercress on the plates.
  9. Dribble over some of the dressing, a few teaspoon's worth.
  10. Blanch the Asparagus in the boiling water for 2 or 3 minutes - no more! Then drain.
  11. When the Quali eggs are nicely browned and crispy, remove them a drain on some kitchen towel. Allow to cool.
  12. Place the Asparagus on top of the Watercress and immediately place the Serrano ham on top of the Asparagus so that some of the warmth melts the fat on the ham slightly.
  13. Cut the Quail eggs in half and arrange around the plate.
  14. Grate a very small amount of cheese on top (about a Dessert spoon per plate).
  15. Drizzle over some more dressing.



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