Ingredients of the week: smoked salmon and asparagus

When it comes to the produce we love eating most at this time of year, smoked salmon and asparagus are right up there 

SMOKED SALMON

How to eat

Smoked salmon can be enjoyed at any occasion: stir thrifty shavings into scrambled eggs, drape slices over fancy blinis and homemade tarts or flake hot-smoked salmon and turn into a quick and easy pâté.

Simple or swanky

Smoked salmon only really needs a spritz of lemon, perhaps a small scattering of capers. But you can get inventive with it, too. We’re fans of smoked salmon in Scotch eggs, while it’s also welcome in a light Caesar salad.

Hot or cold

The SpinneysFood range features hot- and cold-smoked salmon. While the latter is smoked at a low temperature and has a lovely fatty texture, hot smoking cooks the salmon and it’s this kind that’s more likely to be paired with big flavours. Try the hot-smoked salmon infused with soy, honey and ginger.


ASPARAGUS

Bending the rules

The woody ends of thick asparagus spears can often be undesirably tough, not exactly ideal for the collection of bright, spring-like dishes we usually associate with this green vegetable. The easiest way to trim the ends is to gently bend the spears and allow them to snap naturally at the right point. Or as American culinary expert Fannie Farmer so snappily (pardon the pun) put it: “let the asparagus tell you”.

Thrifty tips

As elegant and delicious as the tips are, don’t throw away those woody ends. The texture might not be so great, but the flavour is perfectly fine: try cooking and blending them in a vibrant green vegetable soup or using as the base for a risotto stock.

Bundles of speed

Emperor Augustus, looking for a way to describe a swift action, coined the phrase ‘as quick as cooking asparagus’. And who are we to argue? Asparagus shouldn’t be messed around with and is best eaten simply: raw or cooked with an eye on the clock.

Asparagus has long been prized for its medicinal benefits. An ancient species of the vegetable – shatavari – is still used in Ayurvedic medicine.