Yippee! It’s asparagus time again.

I’m fortunate enough to live in the hills above the Vale of Evesham, which is famed for the wonderful asparagus it grows.

Asparagus reminds me of hot summer lunches as a kid, sitting outside slopping up steamed asparagus with fingers dripping in warm melted butter. Being allowed to melt the butter for lunch by my mum was a massive treat and she taught me an essential trick to add a splash of cold water to the melted butter as this turns the butter more into a light sauce rather than just rich, sickly butter.

If you’re in the area and are looking to get involved with the Evesham Asparagus Festival visit this site to find out more info on activities and happenings in the region to celebrate the mighty asparagus.

Remember the season is short – from now until the end of June.

I cooked myself my first asparagus yesterday for lunch (sadly it wasn’t warm enough to sit outside), which I now like to pan-fry (instead of poach) with extra virgin olive oil and lemon.

Simply heat a good, heavy frying pan add a good glug of live oil and when it’s nice and hot add the asparagus and season with salt and pepper.  When you think the asparagus is done on that side, with tongs, turn the asparagus over so the other side gets a good blast of heat.  Just after you turn them, squeeze over a good amount of lemon juice – you want them to have a little zest.  It takes roughly about 8 – 10 minutes in total for them to be cooked.  They will turn quite crisp and charred which I think really adds to the flavour.

Transfer them to a warm plate and grate over some Parmesan.  Simple and yum.

A quick note on preparing the asparagus, I don’t peel the outside (unless it’s old and woody in which case make a soup) and I just snap the ends off where it naturally wants to break by feeling the pressure.  It does mean that they are all different sizes but I think that adds to the appeal…