The short season for English asparagus is now underway, and because this incredible produce is only available for six weeks or so I’d encourage you to eat as much of it as you can whilst you have the chance!
This recipe makes a great light lunch and if you don’t have a lidded barbecue or don’t want to light a fire to cook over then you can also cook it in your kitchen under the grill. The main thing is that you cook it in a sealed or covered environment (such as a smoker or lidded barbecue) so that the steam and smoke can cook and flavour the asparagus and mozzarella.
With a long weekend coming up, it’s definitely time to dust off your barbecue if you haven’t already. Pick up a bunch of new season English asparagus and some good mozzarella, and treat yourself.
Bunch of English asparagus
2 balls of mozzarella
Good quality EV olive oil or rapeseed oil
Red wine vinegar or juice of one lemon
Pinch dried chilli flakes
Light your barbecue and allow the fire to burn down until you have a bed of hot coals.
Snap the woody ends off the asparagus spears (hold the bottom end and mid point and bend, and the spear will snap at the right place). Keep two back and place the rest of them on the grill.
Cook until beginning to char, then turn the asparagus spears over. Bunch them together on the grill and place the two balls of mozzarella on top of the asparagus, then place the lid on your barbecue (or cover with foil if you don’t have a lid). The idea is that the moisture steams the asparagus and mozzarella and it takes on a bit of the smokey flavour.
Use a speed peeler to peel the two reserved raw asparagus spears lengthways into strips.
Check after three minutes, and once the asparagus has charred on the other side and the mozzarella is starting to melt, use a spatula to remove it to a serving dish.
Place the peeled asparagus strips on top of the mozzarella.
Dress with a good slug each of olive or rapeseed oil, pomegranate molasses and red wine vinegar or lemon juice. If you like an element of heat then sprinkle over a pinch of dried chilli flakes.
You can serve this as it is, or with charred ice gem lettuce or on a piece of toasted focaccia. If you want to take yourself to dairy heaven then you could even spread cream cheese on the toasted focaccia before piling it high with your baked and burnt asparagus and mozzarella.