My father-in-law would have been proud of me. When his children were young he would drive home from their holiday cottage to raid the garden for sweetcorn, runner beans, tomatoes, potatoes …
Admittedly he didn’t have far to go but I think he’d have been tickled that we took our home-grown asparagus and our hens’ eggs all the way to Spain last week. He once posted my sister-in-law a parcel of asparagus, carefully wrapped in damp newspaper, when she was at university. It was a taste of home. As we’d promised her a similar feast when we met up in Spain we packed a big bagful into the car.
Having gorged on it for a couple of meals we were left with the thinner stalks, the sprue, perfect for making this traditional Catalan dish. It’s cooked in a frying pan but it’s much closer to English scrambled eggs than to a Spanish omelette. In the Med it’s often made with wild asparagus, which is sometimes bitter, sometimes sweet-tasting but always a welcome burst of flavour in early spring.
I’ve had it in Catalan restaurants as a starter and as a main course. It makes a good lunch or light supper dish. Alternatively, serve it as part of a tapas spread. If you can’t get sprue, use ordinary full-grown asparagus.
Revuelta de Espárragos
About 250g asparagus
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Herbs to garnish
Snap the woody ends off the asparagus and discard. Bring a tall pan of salted water to the boil, add the asparagus with the tips poking out of the water (they’re more tender and will cook in the steam), turn down to a simmer, put on a lid at a tilt and cook until the asparagus is tender but still firm, not floppy and soggy. Drain and when cool enough to handle, cut into short lengths.
Crack the eggs into a big bowl and whisk until blended. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a deep frying pan (I used a big omelette pan) and cook over a gentle heat, stirring, until the eggs begin to scramble, then add the chopped asparagus.
Continue to stir gently until the egg forms largish curds and the asparagus is heated through. Check the seasoning, spoon into a serving bowl and scatter with herbs.
Because I’ve been eating this in Spain for years I think of it as quite a retro dish, so I served it with triangles of fried bread, crisped in a good-quality olive oil. They made a crunchy contrast to the soft, creamy, eggs and asparagus.