Warm Asparagus with Balsamic Dressing

English asparagus is the best and is in season during May and June. Make the most of this brief season.

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • Use the best balsamic vinegar you can afford
  • 20 asparagus (4 -5 per person) washed and trimmed
  • 2 -3 tablespoons walnut oil or hazelnut oil
  • 2-3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 50g vegetarian hard style cheese, grated into shavings
  • Melba toast to serve

Method

  1. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to boil and drop in the asparagus spears, so that they lie lengthways in the pan, all the same way.
  2. Turn the heat down to a simmer and cook for about 8 mins until they are just cooked.
  3. Put some kitchen paper on a plate; remove the spears from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain
  4. Arrange the spears on 4 serving plates, sprinkle with oil and vinegar then shave a little Parmesan over each portion, using the coarse blade of the grater.
  5. Serve warm with Melba toast

Tips

Trim the tough ends from the spears and cut the lengths to fit your saucepan, about 18cms (7 inches.) Do not be put off by thinking asparagus is difficult to cook.
To reduce the fat, you could try reduced-fat vegetarian hard style cheese.
If you do not have walnut or hazelnut oil use your best virgin olive oil.
Fresh Asparagus is well worth using in season but freezing the finished dish is not recommended.