07 May Eat the Seasons May
May is a dream for seasonal eating, with some fabulous spring produce.
This is National Asparagus Month, with these delicate spears available in green, purple and white.
Great in spring risottos, simply steamed and served seasoned with salt and pepper or dipped into a soft-boiled egg, asparagus is versatile and delicious.
And with high levels of vitamins A and C, iron, calcium and potassium, whichever type you pick will pack a nutritious punch, too.
Foodie dates to look out for in May include British Sandwich Week from May 19-26. Soothill’s Bakery in Locks Heath has a wide range of fresh bread baked on the premises, from crusty baguettes and granary rolls to bloomer and sandwich loaves.
It’s also time to fire up the barbecue for National BBQ Week from May 27-June 2. Our great local butchers have lots of specials – try the homemade Tennessee Smokehouse burgers and southern fried chicken breasts at Dave’s Family Butchers in Fareham.
If you’re a sausage fan, look no further than The Twells Tradition in Portchester, where you’ll find a staggering range of award-winning flavours, from duck and hoisin to pork, orange and basil.
May is also the month to pick up some beautiful Jersey Royals. With their distinctive sweet, nutty flavour and creamy texture, these special new potatoes are great boiled and served with melting salted butter or made into a big bowl of potato salad, perfect for passing round at a May barbecue or garden party.
For foragers, there’s plenty of wild garlic still flowering, and fragrant elderflower is in bloom from late May to mid-June. Pick the frothy fully open heads on a dry, sunny day and use to make elderflower cordial and champagne, add to cakes or biscuits, or deep fry for tasty fritters.
Lamb, poussin or spring chicken and wood pigeon.
Apricots, cherries, rhubarb and strawberries.
Asparagus, broad beans, carrots, cauliflower, Jersey Royal new potatoes, lettuce, peas, radishes, rocket, samphire, spring onions, spinach, Swiss chard, watercress and wild garlic.
Coley, crab, haddock, halibut, langoustine, plaice, pollock, prawns, rainbow trout, shrimp, whelks and wild salmon.
Recipe for the month
Pan-fried asparagus with a garlic, lemon and parsley butter sauce
Salt and pepper
1-2 cloves of garlic – minced
80g of butter, or use a vegan alternative if you wish
The juice of a lemon
A handful of parsley – finely chopped
Begin by making the garlic, lemon and parsley butter sauce! First pop some olive oil into a pan over medium heat and add your garlic. Stir the garlic into the oil and allow the garlic to gentle sizzle for a couple of minutes until it softens.
Next, add your butter of choice and melt into the garlic. Let it gently bubble for 2 or 3 minutes, stirring regularly so it doesn’t burn.
Add a pinch of salt to taste, then add the lemon juice 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking it into the sauce as you go.
Finally take the sauce off the heat, add your parsley and stir through. This can now be set aside to give it time to cool!
Now, we’re moving onto the star of the dish – the asparagus! Prepare your stems by snapping in half, getting rid of the woody ends and leaving you with the lovely tender bit to cook and eat. You can keep the woody ends for stocks, blended soups or juices so there is no waste!
Wash your asparagus well and set aside.
Place a frying pan on a medium heat and pour in a teaspoon of olive oil. Scatter the asparagus in and let it sizzle in the pan for 10 minutes, shuffling the spears around the pan as you go.
Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pop the spears on a plate, drizzle with the garlic sauce and serve!