Espárragos

Asparagus

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Fills a

    1 litre

Appears in

MoVida Rustica

By Frank Camorra and Richard Cornish

Published 2009

  • About

WHEN KING JUAN CARLOS OF SPAIN SPEAKS, EVERYBODY LISTENS. HE IS BOTH MAJESTIC AND DOWN TO EARTH, AND SO LOVED ON THE IBERIAN PENINSULA THAT EVEN ONE IN THREE PORTUGUESE WANT HIM AS THEIR KING. HIS FRIENDSHIP WITH MOROCCANS HAS EASED DIPLOMATIC TENSIONS — AND HE HAS TOLD SOUTH AMERICAN PRESIDENTS TO SHUT UP!’ HE LOVES TO RIDE HIS MOTORBIKE INCOGNITO THROUGH THE COUNTRYSIDE, AND MANY SPANIARDS HAVE A STORY OF MEETING HIM IN A SMALL TOWN, DRESSED IN HIS LEATHERS, HAVING A BITE TO EAT. ONE STORY GOES THAT WHEN KING JUAN CARLOS TASTED SOME TINNED ASPARAGUS, HE VOICED HIS APPRECIATION IN QUITE AN EARTHY MANNER. THESE ASPARAGUS,’ HE PROCLAIMED, ARE THE BALLS!’ THAT BRAND OF TINNED WHITE ASPARAGUS HAS BEEN CALLED COJONUDOS EVER SINCE. EVERY TIME I SEE A TIN OF ASPARAGUS LABELLED COJONUDOS, I AM REMINDED WHY I LOVE SPAIN SO VERY MUCH.

Ingredients

  • 1 kg (2 lb 4 oz) fresh white asparagus
  • 50 g ( oz/heaped cup) fine sea salt
  • juice of 1 lemon

Method

Wash and sterilise a 1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cup) preserving jar and its lid and seal.

Wash the asparagus spears and peel the stems. Measure the depth of the jar and trim the spears so they fit 2 cm (¾ inch) beneath the lid to allow enough preserving liquid to cover them.

Dissolve the sea salt in 125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) boiling water. Add this to 900 ml (30½ fl oz) cold water, then stir in the lemon juice and set aside.

Cook the asparagus in two batches in a large saucepan of boiling salted water for 2–3 minutes, or until nearly tender. Refresh the asparagus in iced water, then drain and arrange upright in the sterilised jar. Cover with the salted lemon water and seal.

Place an old plate on the bottom of a large heavy-based saucepan so the jar is not in direct contact with the base of the pan. Place the jar on the plate and transfer to the stovetop. Fill with enough cold water to cover the jar, then turn the heat to high. When the temperature reaches 80°C (175°F), reduce the heat and adjust it to keep the temperature at roughly 80°C (175°F) for 30 minutes.

Carefully remove the jar from the water and allow to cool. Store in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months. Once opened, the asparagus will keep, refrigerated, for 2–3 days.