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New season asparagus with almond puree

The perfect Spring starter that is also vegan-friendly.




Photo: Linda Mady
    • For the almond puree: in a small pan, take 250g of almond flakes and soak them in the almond milk and add 1 tbsp salt.
    • Bring to a simmer, remove, cover with silver foil/cling film and let cool at room temperature for 2 hours
    • Bake the remaining 50g of almonds until golden brown.
    • When the almond mixture is cool, put in a food processor and puree until texture is smooth. Set aside.
    • To make the Jerusalem artichoke chips: Clean the artichokes with a scourer.
    • They will discolour when cut, so have a bowl of water with lemon juice in ready. 
    • Slice them thinly, and put them in the water as you complete slicing them all.
    • Heat a deep pan of sunflower oil to 180°C. Drain and dry the slices then deep fry until golden - it should take less than a minute, then drain on paper towels and sprinkle with sea salt.
    • For the asparagus: Bring some salted water to boil in large wide pot and fill a bowl with iced water for blanching.
    • Trim the ends of the spears and peel them from the bottom halfway up.
    • Blanch the spears in the boiling water for 90-120 seconds, then remove and plunge them into the ice water bath.
    • After a minute, place carefully on kitchen towel to dry. 
    • Rub the asparagus with olive oil and heat a skillet or heavy frying pan. Place the spears in the pan, turning twice until they develop griddle lines. 
    • To assemble the dish: warm the almond puree a little and season with salt to taste. Make a circle of puree on a serving plate and place the asparagus spears on it. 
    • Drizzle the spears with a little olive oil, and cut in half .
    • Assemble on top of each other in an alternative horizontal and vertical grid design (see photo) and garnish with the watercress leaves, Jerusalem artichoke chips and flaked almonds
    • Drizzle with more oil and salt as required.