Yep, it’s asparagus season!
And after a visit to the local Farmers’ Market I had enough asparagus to just get creative with - which is really what I love to do with food: get great ingredients and then just have fun, playing around and trying out new ideas.
First I made a Thai soup with coconut milk, a tom kha - I’ve usually had this with chicken or seafood, but I made it with asparagus and really liked it.
Next up this peppery, garlic stir fry.
In my head I’d wanted fresh green peppercorns but I was definitely too lazy to go out and get the bus up to the Thai supermarket to buy some, so I tried a mix of black, and pink peppercorns (that I had whole and ground) and some white pepper (ready ground).
I’ve since made it again with just white pepper to see what it was like, and it was still good.
Quantities are kind of vague (as they often are!) but here’s what I used to make this super simple peppery asparagus stir fry.
A teaspoon of cooking oil - sunflower, rapeseed or grapeseed will be best
Just over a teaspoon of ground peppercorns - your choice as to what you use but on the first occasion I used a mix of black, pink and white and on the second just white pepper on its own
1 garlic clove, minced
1 red chilli, diced finely (the chilli is optional and when I made this a second time I didn’t put one in and probably preferred it without - instead I had the asparagus as a side dish with a spicy chicken stir fry and rice)
A handful of asparagus spears - I LOVE how when you bed the asparagus it just KNOWS where the right place is to snap off - woody stalk snapped off and sliced
2-3 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Fresh coriander leaves, chopped (if liked - if not just leave out)
Put a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat, add the oil and swirl to cover the pan.
Add the pepper and garlic (and chilli if using) and cook for 20-30 seconds, stirring all the time, until it smells good. Add a splash of water if it looks like it’s going to stick or burn - it needs to keep moving.
Then tip in the sliced asparagus and stir to cover with the lovely oily peppery garlicky mixture and then add the water, fish sauce and sugar.
Do adjust the amount of water if you’d like more of a sauce or if at any point in the cooking time it looks like it’s run out of water and is going to stick.
Cover and simmer for about four minutes until the asparagus is cooked but still has a crunch - or to your liking of course. If you prefer it softer, cook it a little longer.
Add the coriander leaves if using and stir to mix it all together.
Serve on its own with rice for a delicious light lunch or supper, or have alongside other dishes in a multi-dish meal.