Seasonal Eats: David Williams’ Asparagus Thermidor Recipe
When I was in Waitrose this week (borrowing flutes for the Muddy Awards, note) I noticed the packs and packs of supermodel flawless (Wiltshire) Asparagus – which I’m sure was very good, but it reminded me I hadn’t posted about something alot more special – really local asparagus from right here in Cornwall.
In the middle of the Muddy finals I was treated to Nat Burch’s unique wibbly wobbly wonky but super sweet asparagus – same day picked fresh – at the newly refurbed Sea Side restaurant at the St Moritz Hotel & spa. Nat picks the asparagus from her farm in St Enodoc before starting her other job at the St Moritz Hotel & spa.
It’s the same salty sea air that gives St Enodoc asparagus its signature delicate flavour, enhanced by executive chef David Williams’ simple cooking techniques. He believes in bringing out the best of local produce, using classic flavour pairings and delicate handling to put the freshest of seasonal ingredients centre stage.
You can enjoy David Willliams’ special take on this very special food ‘hero’ every Wednesday until the short native asparagus season ends. Try it with herb butter or Hollandaise sauce and your choice of Cornish prosciutto ham or a local poached hen’s egg (it was delish) Da Bara sourdough bread to soak up the juices and a specially selected glass of chilled Château St Genès, Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon from Bordeaux which perfectly complements the sweet and tender stems.
As per usual, I strong armed David into sharing one of his recipes with us:
1.3 litres milk
Small bunch thyme
1 large onion sliced
2 bay leaves
1 garlic split
1 litre fish soup
4 tbs English mustard
100g cheddar cheese
10 spears of English asparagus – woody bottoms removed.
50g picked white crab meat
Warm the milk and Infuse with the thyme, cloves, bay leaves, garlic for at least half an hour, strain
Melt the butter in a large pan and add the flour making a roux, cook out for a few minutes
Add the fish soup to the pan whisking all the time, slowly add the milk stirring continuously until a sauce consistency is achieved.
Gently simmer the sauce for approx fifteen minutes taking care not to catch the bottom of the pan
Once cooked, add the cheese and mustard, DO NOT RETURN TO THE BOIL, season and pass, cover with a cartouche (circle of baking parchment)
The sauce is now ready to use, this quantity makes more than you will need. It can now be frozen in batches of approximately 200g and defrosted the night before you need it.
Grill the asparagus spears, on a high heat, with a little bit of butter, salt and pepper for about 2 minutes , turn them grill for another two minutes. Transfer to a serving dish and cover generously with the thermidor sauce.
Return to the grill and cook until the sauce is bubbling and golden. Remove. Sprinkle generously with the crab meat and serve immediately with a crisp salad and chilled glass of chardonnay.
Celebrate the seasons lunch menu is £14.95, offered every Wednesday at the Sea Side restaurant & bar at the St Moritz Hotel & Spa, Trebetherick, Wadebridge, PL27 6SD T: 01208 862242