Delicate asparagus, in its luscious green glory, likes to keep us guessing. Unlike the more reliable staples of the vegetable patch, the start of asparagus season can be a little unpredictable, although early crops tend to appear in late March. The season is short, but can yield a bountiful harvest if conditions are favourable.
Wild garlic, also known as ramsons, buckrams and Allium Ursinum, grows copiously throughout the Spring. While you can sow your own crop in the Autumn, these plants are easy to identify and grow freely in most woodlands, riverbanks and hedgerows. Unlike other garlic varieties, the flavour lies in the leaves and the flowers. Pick those nearest to the ground and, once washed, store in a sealed bag in the fridge for up to a week.
Frittata, which rather unglamorously takes its name from the Italian ‘fritte’ (read: ‘fried’), is a quick and easy lunch dish. Asparagus, fresh and fragrant at this time of year, marries beautifully with the punch of freshly picked wild garlic. If you like, you could drop in scoops of soft goats cheese for a particularly indulgent lunch.
8-10 new potatoes
25ml olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
75g parmesan, freshly grated
8-10 wild garlic leaves/flowers
Bring a pan of salted water to the boil, then add the potatoes and cook for 7-10 minutes. While they are cooking, trim the asparagus and carefully slice each spear lengthways. When the potatoes are still just-hard, add the asparagus to the pan and cook for a further 3-4 minutes. Drain and allow to cool, then slice the potatoes into thin discs.
Preheat your grill to 200C. Preheat the oil in a 10” non-stick frying pan, then add the potatoes and allow them to brown a little. Meanwhile, add the milk, cream, eggs and seasoning to a large mixing bowl, and beat until smooth. Stir through the parmesan, then add the wild garlic leaves and cooked asparagus.
Tip the hot potatoes into the egg custard, mix, then pour the entire mix back into the frying pan. Set under the grill, and cook for 4-6 minutes, until the top has browned but the middle still has a slight wobble.
Remove from the heat and set aside for 5-10 minutes, then slice up and serve immediately.Enjoy more Kitchen Garden reading in the monthly magazine. Click here to subscribe.