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.
Wash and sterilise a
Wash the asparagus spears and peel the stems. Measure the depth of the jar and trim the spears so they fit
Dissolve the sea salt in
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.
© 2009 All rights reserved. Published by Murdoch Books.