To celebrate the great British Asparagus season, a fabulous way to enjoy this fabulous versatile vegetable is inspired by the late, great Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers, who founded the phenomenally successful River Café restaurant in London in 1987.

Asparagus and Anchovy Antipasto

Choose Asparagus with tightly closed tips and firm stalks.  An asparagus steamer is the best way to cook these tender veg as they are designed to protect the fragile tips as they cook standing upright.  If you don't have one, lay the asparagus flat in a large frying pan and cover with boiling salted water for 6-8 minutes or until just tender.

Serves 4


800g British Asparagus

6 Salted Anchovy Fillets

150g Unsalted Butter

Half a Lemon

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

50g Parmesan


Soften the butter.  Rinse, dry and roughly chop the anchovies.

In a bowl mix the anchovies with lemon juice and black pepper, then with a fork mix with the butter.

Boil the asparagus in salted water until tender.  Drain and season and drizzle with olive oil.

Place the asparagus on warm plates.  Spoon over the anchovy butter, and scatter with Parmesan shavings.

Simple and delicious!  Try serving with an English wine too - Nutbourne Vineyards Sussex Reserve 2010

Original Recipe from the River Café Cook Book Easy


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