Evie's Tuesday Tip week 4: enjoy British asparagus while it's still in season

Hi health lovers! This week I’m going to do a feature on asparagus because we’re almost done with the season and I want to encourage you to cook and eat this delicious health boosting vegetable.

I love the idea of eating home grown veggies which supports our farmers, transport industry and general economy.  Few British veggies are better than asparagus, which is claimed by many to be the best in the world.  May to July is the best time to enjoy this health boosting powerfood which has a very low sugar content, smart carbs, fibre and even protein.

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According to the National Cancer Institute asparagus is ‘anti-carcinogen'.  It’s the food highest in glutathione, an important anti-carcinogen.  Plus it’s good for your urinary system (but it does make your wee smell – that’s normal and nothing to worry about.) It also assists with slowing down the ageing process because it’s so jam packed with antioxidants placing it in the top 10 fruits & veggies for its ability to neutralise cell-damaging free radicals which, according to preliminary research, may help slow the ageing process.  Your body will love you for eating asparagus - come on MC&Ler get involved! 

Buying Asparagus

 I always promote markets and local greengrocers for all veg; it doesn’t come wrapped in toxic plastic and usually has travelled less miles to be with you.

Try and choose a bunch where the spears are the same thickness, as you want them to cook at the same time.   Choose bright green firm spears with dry closed tips (opening and moisture sets in when they get old).  The woody part at the end should be no more than 15-20% of the whole thing, the bigger it is the tougher your asparagus will be, you should cut this bit off anyway before cooking but if that’s all that is available and you want to buy it fear not, just take a veg peeler and take the outer layer off (under the tip of course.)  Like cabbage asparagus squeaks, so go on give it a squeeze and if it talks back to you its fresh!

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What to do  

Why not try dipping steamed spears into a soft boiled egg, (oohhh could be sexy it is after all supposed to be an aphrodisiac) or serving with a perfectly poached egg.  

Griddled asparagus drizzled with a pre made mix of olive oil, lemon juice and black pepper is great with almost any fish, chicken or meat.

Or chopped and put in a stir fry. It’s so versatile so go and buy yourself some asparagus and enjoy it!

Asparagus with smoked salmon and quails eggs

Our chosen dish is steamed asparagus, with hard boiled quails eggs and smoked salmon.  This dish is quick and easy to prepare, looks amazing and is 100% clean.

  1. Put the quail’s eggs into a     small pot and cover by 1 inch with cold water, put on a high heat and when     it starts to boil turn to a simmer and continue to cook for 5 mins – set a     timer as over cooked eggs get a black ring between yoke and white and ruin     the look of the dish. When done, empty the water out and put the pot under     a cold running tap to stop the eggs from cooking.
  2. Cut the asparagus spears so     that they neatly fit in the steamer.      After I cut the woody ends of there was still some perfectly edible     asparagus there so I popped the bits into a plastic tub on top of a damp     bit of kitchen towel and saved to use in a stir fry or omelette – no waste     in my kitchen!) Steam for 5 mins (I like them al dente, cook for longer if     you want.)
  3. Peel the eggs and cut in     half lengthways.
  4. Arrange the asparagus and     smoked salmon on the plate then dot the eggs around the side.
  5. In a tiny bowl or dip dish,     mix some olive oil (about 1 tbl spoon) with a squeeze of lemon juice and     add some dill (I used dried because I didn’t have fresh – it works fine).     Then take a teaspoon and drip the oil mix over the dish to create that     restaurant look. 
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