The official British asparagus season runs from 23rd of April to 21st of June. However, there are always some – particularly in warm microclimates – that jump the gun and impress us that little bit early. Indeed it proved too difficult to resist the large bunch of beautiful asparagus staring at me in my local grocers – cheap at only £1.25 for the bunch! A little fridge rummaging later and my recipe for Asparagus and Brie Tartine was prepared, photographed and devoured eagerly.
Strictly speaking, a tartine is bread or toast coated generously with a luxurious spread and topped with something fresh and light. Tartine purists out there will probably scoff at my use of the word, but there was no more appropriate definition. Besides, when warmed through you could easily spread the brie to satisfy any semantic demands.
Cooking asparagus couldn’t be simpler or quicker. A few minutes in a pan with some wonderful salted butter and your lunch will be forever transformed. Just don’t overcook it; it needs to be crisp and crunchy, not soggy and flaccid. Indeed, the asparagus and brie tartine benefits greatly from the contrast between the gooey cheese and firm shoots.
Asparagus and Brie Tartine
8 asparagus shoots, halved
6 small slices of brie
2 thick slices of bread, preferably sourdough
A twist of pepper
Melt your butter in a heavy-based frying pan. Add the asparagus and cook over a high heat for 2 minutes – keep it moving. Toast the bread.
Once the asparagus is cooked quickly show the slices of brie a little heat in the pan. Layer the cheese atop your slices of toast, followed by a stack of asparagus. Drizzle over the excess butter and serve with a twist of black pepper.
Cost: Don’t buy your asparagus from the supermarket; it’s not as nice and you’ll not get an amazing deal. As mentioned above, I picked up around 15 shoots for a mere £1.25. Therefore, you’ll not be surprised to hear that this fantastic lunch for two will set you back no more than around £1.40.