English asparagus season is here and so there must be at least one asparagus canapé. Here is it, quite simple but very delicious. The only slightly tricky bit is tying the bundles up, but it is worth persevering. I have used ribbons of leek which are cooked, so add only the mildest flavour to the vegetables but hold the asparagus bundles together really well.
1 bunch of asparagus (preferably English)
12 sugar snap peas
1 or 2 preserved lemons (I used Belazu from Waitrose)
1 small leek
Wash the asparagus and snap off the woody ends.
Steam the asparagus spears for approximately 2 minutes until lightly cooked (timing depends on the thickness of the asparagus). Dry and cut the spears into even size pieces, the same length as the sugar snaps.
Slice the leek in half lengthwise and wash it under running water. Take the outer leaves and plunge them into boiling water for a minute. Dry. (Keep the rest of the leek for soup or stock)
Cut the preserved lemon into half and scrape out the flesh. Slice the rind into thin long strips.
Wash the sugar snaps and top and tail them if necessary and dry.
Cut the leek pieces into long thin strips. Dry again to make them easier to tie.
Sort the vegetables into piles with 2 or 3 pieces of asparagus, depending on size. Include one tip in each pile. One sugar snap and a thin slice of preserved lemon.
Tie each bundle with a piece of leek. Neaten the ends of the leek when tied.
To serve, lightly pat the bundles to remove excess moisture and serve on canapé spoons with a small blob of hollandaise on each - no double dipping! . Alternatively arrange the bundles around a central bowl of hollandaise. Store covered with damp kitchen towel in the fridge until required. They will keep several several hours.
Sprinkle lightly with salt to taste.
If you like asparagus, have a look at all the other asparagus recipes on the website:
Asparagus with basil and truffle mayo
Chilled Asparagus Soup
Asparagus with Crispy Parma Ham
Asparagus on Roasted New Potatoes