I’m a happy woman: my favourite vegetable is in season. Beautiful English asparagus, locally grown. I refuse to buy the squat ugly spears flown in from Peru in February, but in May I’ll happily steam my way through bunch after bunch of English asparagus for virtually every meal.
As far as I know, no farmer in Rutland grows asparagus, so our ‘home grown’ comes from neighbouring Lincolnshire, and while Uppingham Market on a Friday has local asparagus too (very good), there’s no doubt in my mind that the best – and the best value – is consistently offered by Malcolm the mobile butcher from Nelson’s. His bunches, their only packaging two sturdy rubber bands, are slim, crisp green spears with tender buds.
They are wonderful steamed for three minutes or so, and simply served with melted butter, or fresh hollandaise sauce, the creamy mayonnaise-like ‘dip’ with a hint of lemon, plus perhaps a few flakes of sea salt. Yum.