Be sure to make the most of summer foods while they’re in season. Read on to find out more about two of my summer favourites, asparagus and strawberries.
British asparagus has a short season and is available from May to June. With this in mind it is well worth making the most of this lovely intense savoury flavour whilst it is at its best. Apart from being delicious, asparagus has high levels of vitamins A and C, iron and potassium, perfect for a healthy lifestyle.
If the spears are quite large simply break off the larger end of the spear and throw the woody ends away. Asparagus will naturally break where the woody stems give way to the tender part of the vegetable. You can use this marvellous vegetable for a starter, light lunch or incorporate it into a main meal. One of my favourites, which we make here in the Winepress, is simply to grill the asparagus and serve with a garlic mayonnaise. The simple preparation enhances the flavour of this wonderful ingredient, making it a wonderful seasonal treat. Alternatively why not try using asparagus in a creamy risotto or in a salad with bacon and salad leaves topped with a poached egg.
The arrival of the first British strawberries into the kitchen always brings a smile to my face. For me they are a true taste of summer.
Strawberries have been a key ingredient for classic British summer foods for many years. Desserts such as Eton Mess, summer pudding and the classic strawberries and cream are a few to mention. To get the very best flavour, I recommend eating them at room temperature, or even placing them in the sun for an hour or so, as this brings out their natural sweet flavour and colour.
As a delicious indulgent treat, I like to dip whole strawberries into melted dark chocolate and set aside until firm. You could serve these as petit fours for a dinner party or for children’s parties.
Strawberries need not be confined to the dessert menu, why not thinly slice strawberries and place them over a summer salad – delicious! Using a little balsamic vinegar or freshly ground black pepper enhances their fresh flavour. Make the most of these seasons’ strawberries and enjoy them in as many ways as possible, easy to do as they are so versatile. Why not let us know about any unusual combinations you have tried.
Sous Chef at Donnginton Valley Hotel and Spa