Wye valley asparagus served with a wild garlic mayonnaise and toasted cobnuts
Asparagus and wild garlic are perfect at this time of the year, a real celebration of what the UK has to offer. Add the toasted cobnuts for texture and I’m sure you’ll agree, this is a great way to start a meal with a dish full of flavour, colour and life.
Ingredients | Serves 4-6
- 18 asparagus spears
- 60g cobnuts
For the mayonnaise
- 60g wild garlic leaves
- 3 free range egg yolks
- 300ml virgin olive oil (approximately)
- 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
- Sea salt and pepper
- ½ lemon, juiced
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I use three or four asparagus spears per portion so you can adjust the amount of asparagus needed depending on how many people you are cooking for. Take the asparagus and cut off roughly half an inch off the bottom to remove the tough woody part, then take a peeler and peel the bottom inch of each spear. Bring a pan of water up to the boil with a pinch of sea salt, take the asparagus and cook them in the boiling water for 2 minutes. Remove the asparagus and plunge straight into iced water; this will stop the cooking process and keep the asparagus bright in colour. Once cool, remove the asparagus and keep them on a cloth until needed.
For the mayonnaise, remove the stalks from the wild garlic, plunge them into a pan of salted boiling water for 5 seconds then remove the leaves with a slotted spoon and plunge straight into iced water to stop the cooking process. Once cooled remove and squeeze out the excess water. In a tall jug, place the egg yolks, white wine vinegar and lemon juice; take a stick blender and blitz for a minute. Then very slowly add the olive oil, blitzing constantly and the egg will slowly emulsify with the oil forming a mayonnaise. This will thicken very quickly and may not require all the oil. Once the mayonnaise thickens add the wild garlic leaves, season and blitz again for a minute until bright in colour. The mayonnaise will turn a lovely green and is now ready to serve.
For the cobnuts, crush them with a rolling pin between a cloth but don’t break them too much. Transfer them to a baking tray and toast them gently for a few minutes under a grill and leave to cool.
If you do not own a stick blender you can also make this in a tall liquidiser. If for some reason your mayonnaise was to split, this is usually caused by adding the oil too fast. Just add one tablespoon of warm water and blitz again and this will bind your mayonnaise back together.
Take your spears of asparagus and season with salt, pepper and drizzle with a little olive oil. Either serve cold, or place in a frying pan with a knob of butter and gently warm through. Place onto your plates, spoon some mayonnaise next to the spears and sprinkle over the toasted cobnuts.