I could tell you at length about the nutritional benefits of asparagus. For my part, I simply want you to enjoy the elegant simplicity of this beautiful vegetable. It works well as a starter because it cooks in literally two minutes and can showcase a host of butters, dips and aioli’s. After you’ve licked your lips, you’ll feel the vitamin K, thiamine, anti-oxidants and cancer-fighting glutathione coursing through your body!
For the butter, add the onion, garlic and harissa to the food processor and blitz to combine. Add the soft butter and salt and whizz together thoroughly. Spoon the butter onto a sheet of cling film or greaseproof paper, rolling it up neatly and twisting the ends to create a little sausage of butter.
Set in the fridge until required. Flavoured butters can last in the fridge or freezer for 2 weeks and up to 3 months. When ready to use, remove from the paper or cling and slice in readiness for the blanched asparagus.
Blanche the asparagus in plenty of boiling water for no longer than 2 minutes. Drain carefully and toss gently with the pats of butter, using your fingers. Lay out the asparagus on a beautiful, slightly warmed platter. Tuck the rounds of Harissa Butter in between the spears and on top so that everyone gets a little of the buttery love. Sprinkle with flaked sea salt, pepper and parsley and garnish with lemons if using.
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