Anyone who has a passing acquaintance with me knows how fond I am of asparagus. My Instagram pal @stephencooksfrench (he makes good food and bad puns) even put it into verse: Linda loved asparagus/She thought it was so yummy/She slathered it with Hollandaise/And put it in her tummy.
And I cannot lie to you, I do love it served that way, but sometimes you want to ring the changes. So I made this asparagus with goat’s cheese cream, inspired by another Instagram friend @dillgravlax, and I think it’s a winner. It’s also a lot less faff than making a Hollandaise.
The goat’s cheese sauce is gentle enough not to overpower the asparagus but has enough lactic tang to make it interesting. The nuts add crunch and are worth the brief effort involved in toasting them. And although I steamed my asparagus, you can griddle or barbecue it if you prefer.
I think six spears per person is the minimum but I’m greedy. Scale up or down as it suits you. I served it warm, but it would be equally good at room temperature. It’s best assembled at the last minute, though.
Asparagus with Goat's Cheese Cream
12 fat asparagus spears
1 small clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
1 tsp butter
150g soft goat’s cheese (I used Chavroux)
1 tbsp crème fraîche
Small squeeze of lemon juice
2 tbsp flaked almonds
A few small herb leaves to garnish (I used basil and chervil)
Toast the flaked almonds in a hot, dry pan until golden, stirring so they don’t burn. Spread on a plate to cool.
Snap off the woody part of the asparagus and trim the spears to the same length. Steam or griddle until tender.
While they’re cooking, heat the butter in a small pan and gently fry the crushed garlic until soft but uncoloured. Stir in the goat’s cheese and crème fraîche and warm through. Add the lemon juice. Taste, and if you think it’s needed, add salt and freshly ground white pepper.
Divide the goat’s cheese cream between two warmed plates, spreading it in a more or less circular layer. Lay the asparagus on top, sprinkle with the toasted almonds and scatter over the herbs. Eat at once.