This recipe comes from Christopher Trotter, a friend of ours from Scotland who is known as Fife’s Food Ambassador and besides being an expert on Scottish produce, he’s a cook, a teacher and author of the Whole Hog. If you fancy a few foodie days away take a look at one of his Scottish food tours and in the meantime try his recipe that marries fresh green, seasonal asparagus with mussels and coconut cream. Delicious.
This is the time of year when British asparagus is in season, it’s a very short season, but it’s the only asparagus worth eating!
The process seems quite complex but if you treat cooking mussels as one part which can be done as and when, and cooking the asparagus as another as both elements can be reheated. And then there is the final assembly.
1kg mussels, washed and de bearded
1 onion, finely chopped
stick celery, finely chopped
tsp vegetable oil
150mls white wine
30g grated creamed coconut
tsp chopped chervil
20 spears of asparagus
Heat the oil in a saucepan and sweat the onion and celery in it.
When soft add the turmeric, and stir for a few minutes.
Add the mussels and stir in to get the vegetables mixed through.
Pour on the wine, cover and steam over a low heat until the mussels all open – a few minutes.
Strain off the liquid through a sieve and return to the hob.
Reduce by about a third, then add the cream and coconut cream and simmer to combine, set aside.
Remove the mussels from the shells maybe keeping a few still in the shell for decoration.
Cook the asparagus. This is best done keeping the asparagus in the bundles you buy it in. Use a pan in which the asparagus will lay flat when loose, trim the stalks off if they are a little wide. Put water in to the pan so that it will come half way up the asparagus when upright. Add salt and bring to the boil, place the asparagus in the boiling water bases first keeping tips above the water, simmer for 1 minute, cut the bands holding the asparagus to allow the spears to fall in to the water and simmer for another 2 minutes until you can just pierce the stems with a sharp knife. Remove and drain.
Take 4 hot bowls and strew the mussels over the bottom.
Place the asparagus in the bowls.
Reheat the sauce add the chervil and pour over the asparagus.