- 60g unsalted butter
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp ground mace
- ¼ tsp pink peppercorns, lightly crushed using a pestle and mortar
- 500g asparagus spears, woody ends trimmed
Labour-intensive to grow, asparagus are the young shoots of a cultivated lily plant. They're…
- 200g peeled brown shrimp (or see tip below)
- 2 wild garlic leaves, plus a few to serve (optional), or handful finely shredded chervil or chives
- 1 lemon, juiced
Oval in shape, with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile fruits…
- a few chive flowers (optional)
- chunks of crusty white bread, to serve
Put a large platter in the oven to warm up. Gently melt the butter in a small saucepan over a low heat, then stir in the sea salt, spices and peppercorns. Remove from the heat.
To cook the asparagus, bring a little salted water (about 5cm deep) to the boil in a saucepan, making sure the saucepan is wide enough to fit the asparagus laying flat without crowding it. Add the asparagus and poach for 2-3 mins, or until a knife inserted into the thickest part of a spear can be pulled out with no resistance.
Meanwhile, return the spiced butter pan to the heat, then add the shrimp, wild garlic or herbs and lemon juice, basting the shrimps well. Taste and season, if necessary. Drain the asparagus and pile onto the warm platter, then pour over the shrimps and spiced butter. Garnish with the flowers, if using, then serve with chunks of crusty bread.
An alternative to brown shrimpIf you can’t get hold of brown shrimp, or you prefer a cheaper alternative, North Atlantic prawns work just as well. Or use hazelnuts if you’re vegetarian.