I want to share a little recipe with you. It’s asparagus season here and every year we eat tonnes of it and the way we’ve normally prepared it, is steamed until al dente and served on a platter with boiled egg scattered over the top and then washed over with a mustard vinaigrette (essentially an oil-based sauce with vinegar – to which you can add lemon juice, salt, pepper, mustard etc, whatever you feel like!).
We’ve been eating it for years and I’ve never considered preparing it any other way, I like it so much! That is, until I ate Philippa’s oven-baked asparagus.
Philippa and her partner John have a winery here in the Minervois – Hegarty Chamans – where they make a great range of organic and biodynamic whites (I love their Marsanne Roussanne!) and reds. Their philosophy of how they make their wines follows into the kitchen. Philippa is an amazing cook and meals there are a real treat. It’s like a celebration of fresh produce (often from their ‘potager’/ vegie patch), colours and aromas. There’s no messing around, just simple, pure flavours blended beautifully together. And it all feels so healthy! (if I leave my wine consumption out of the equation). This dish in particular is a beauty. Thanks Philippa, I’ve been hooked ever since you served this entree of asparagus!
Philippa’s Oven-Baked Asparagus
(Yum! and great served as an entree…)
2-3 bunches green asparagus
a good cup full of grated Swiss Gruyere (my favourite cheese EVER) or Parmesan
3-4 dried chopped dried chillies (or 1 or 2 fresh – very hard to find around these parts!)
salt and pepper
chop the ends off the asparagus spears (I never really peel the ends), then rinse and pat dry in a teatowel
pour olive oil into bottom of a good heavy baking dish and swirl to spead the oil
place the spears, then top with the cheese, then the chillies, drizzle more oil and then add salt, pepper to taste
bake in moderate to hot oven (in my old gas oven I cook them on ‘7’) for 30 mins ( or for however long you want, depending on how much crunch you want to leave in the spears)
Et voila! so simple and so delicious!
…and a note on the wine! Asparagus is a difficult thing to match with wine. But if you really can’t resist, go ahead and eat them with a dry but fruity white… Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris