English Asparagus – do not throw the trimmings away!

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Tony Sargeant says that when you have trimmed of the scales along the bottom two thirds of the stalk and then snapped off the base to remove any ‘woodiness’ in the base. Keep and use the trimmings to make soup.

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Sweat-off some finely chopped onion in butter. Then with a sharp knife thinly slice the trimmed end (from which the scales have already been removed when preparing the whole stalk) until you start to feel any ‘woody’ resistance then discard. Add the thin cross-sections to the butter and onions and cook down until tender. Add a splash of white wine, reduce, add some stock (chicken or vegetable), season and then liquidise. The result is delicious garnished with a few cooked asparagus tips.

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Asparagus Season in England – April 2018

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Anthony J Sargeant says that you should not waste the trimmings when you snap off the base of the asparagus.

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First trim the scales off the asparagus (they are very fibrous and it is best to remove them from the whole of the stalk up to about an inch or two of the top of the stalk). Do this before snapping off the bottom section of the stalk. But retain this trimming and using a sharp knife chop thin cress sections down towards the base. If you feel any woody resistance discard that very last section (often there is none). Sweat off some onion in butter (but do not brown) then add the thinly sliced asparagus sections and cook until tender. Add some chicken stock cook-off then liquidise, with seasoning added as required, until smooth. The result is a smooth asparagus soup which can be garnished with chives and perhaps a swirl of double cream. It is delicious and sweet.

See previous post – This was the Cornish Brill that was filleted and cooked – see the previous post by Anthony J Sargeant

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Cornish Brill

A Brill caught be a Cornish Day Boat. The size is good as can be judged from the Wusthof filleting knife shown at the top of the chopping board.  An excellent eating fish – highly recommended

The great 19th Century Chef Escoffier invented Lobster Thermidor (re-named after a play being performed in Paris in 1896)

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Below is the version of Lobster Thermidor cooked by Anthony Sargeant for 2017 Christmas Eve dinner.

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The beautiful fresh lobster was bought from Barkworths Fish Stall in Shrewsbury’s Indoor Market (Shropshire, England). Preparation of Lobster Thermidor is simple and quick and it made for a delicious meal with just a salad and a few crushed potatoes. The lobster meat extracted in one piece from the claws was reserved and panfried separately in butter with a little lemon juice and can be seen on the right of the plate placed on the potatoes. The meat from the tail was cut into bite sized pieces and together with all the other meat extracted from the body and the legs placed back into the split half shell. before being grilled topped with a sprinkling of Parmesan Cheese.

Battered squid rings, crispy chips and a mixed salad

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Battered Squid rings chips and a mixed salad

A simple meal – but delicious – cooked by Anthony J Sargeant for lunch in Shropshire, England. Of course it would have tasted even more delicious if it were eaten for lunch on the quayside of some Greek Island – but one cannot have everything. The batter on the squid was crisp and covered well (it helps to get batter to stick if you first coat fish with rice flour and leave before dipping in the batter mix). The double cooked chips (french fries for North American readers) were crisp and remained crisp after being double cooked in vegetable oil. If they are shaken well in a sieve after cooking it helps to remove any excess oil and keeps the chips crisp.