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Fine Dining at The Old Vicarage Restaurant, Ridgeway, Sheffield

The Old Vicarage: Nathan's kitchen blog


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English asparagus with quails eggs and a lemon butter sauce
At last Spring has finally arrived with all its exciting new season’s ingredients on  offer:- asparagus, Jersey Royals, wild morels, wild garlic, tarragon, chives, tender  lamb – the list grows daily and I need to cook with all of them. 

We have an abundance of wild garlic in our copse but you can look for it on  riverbanks and lakesides.
As a fisherman I often bring handfuls home with me and  love the little star shaped white flowers to scatter over the food. 

Here’s a very simple asparagus starter for you to try at home.
For 4 people you will need:
  • 2 bunches of trimmed English asparagus
    • Choose fresh bright green stems with tight tips.
    • Trim the last inch of the woody ends of the stems and discard.
  • 6 soft boiled quail’s eggs
For the sauce:
  • 1 lemon freshly squeezed
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 75ml vegetable stock
  • 25 ml double cream
  • 125g unsalted butter – chilled and cubed
  • a handful freshly chopped chives
Method:

Start by making the sauce and soft boil the quail’s eggs
  • Pour the stock into a pan and reduce by half.
  • Add the lemon juice and sugar and reduce again.
  • Add a splash of double cream to stabilise the sauce
  • Whisk in as much of the butter as you need to thicken and make a glossy sauce.
    Using unsalted butter allows you to control the seasoning  better.
  • DO NOT BOIL.
  • Season to taste.

  • Bring a shallow pan of water to the boil with salt and a knob of butter.
  • When it’s a fast rolling boil, drop in the asparagus, reduce the heat and cook for 2 minutes.
  • The asparagus will turn bright green and be “al dente”.
  • Drain
  • Meanwhile shell the eggs and cut in half.
  • Arrange the asparagus on serving plates. Top with 1½ eggs each plate.
  • Add the chives to the sauce and pour carefully around the asparagus, drizzling a little over the top.
Serve immediately.
A few chive flowers or wild garlic flowers look very pretty on top.
(As a point of interest, herbal flowers are edible and taste of the actual herb so can add
subtelty to a dish.)
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