Great British asparagusPosted on: 25 March 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves
Make the most of the asparagus season with two fabulous recipes, guaranteed to leave you pining for more.
Make the most of the asparagus season with these three fabulous recipes, guaranteed to leave you pining for more.
Part of the lure of this fabulous vegetable is that it's season lasts for a mere two months, throughout May and June. But not only does it taste delicious, it is also one of nature's superfoods and is in fact a natural aphrodisiac.
Heal the heart
New research suggests that folate may help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke by reducing levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine can clog up the blood vessels that deliver the blood to the heart and brain. A diet rich in folate, along with vitamins B12 and B6 is believed to help reduce homocysteine levels in the blood, thereby reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Enhance The Digestive System
Asparagus contains a prebiotic fibre called inulin. Inulin is only partially digested so that it is fermented in the colon.This helps to stimulate the growth of the friendly ‘probiotic’ bacteria that we have living in our gut. In this way, eating asparagus may help to maintain digestive health.
Boost The Immune System
As 70% of our immune system if found in the gut, the prebiotic effects of asparagus may also help to support immune health and increase resistance to the disease.
Increase The Libido
Herbalist Nicholas Culpepper (1616-1654) claimed that asparagus ‘stirs up lust in man and woman’. Evidence that aphrodisiacs actually exist remains anecdotal and subjective partly because measuring the effect of aphrodisiacs is not easy, although there is some evidence that folate may be involved in sexual performance. The inability to reach orgasm in both men and women has been linked to a lack of histamines. Histamine production appears to be triggered by folic acid, so thanks to its impressive folate content asparagus may be able to help people reach their sexual peak. Traditionally eaten with the fingers, it can also be a seductive eating experience.
Expectant Mothers' Health
Asparagus is an excellent source of the B vitamin folate. Just seven spears provides around 69% of the Recommended Daily Amount of this important vitamin. Folate is an important vitamin for women planning to become pregnant because it helps reduce the risk of neural tube defects like spina bifida.
Fresh Asparagus & Parma Ham with Herby Yoghurt Dressing
Preparation & cooking time: 10 minutes
1lb/450g British asparagus
8 thin slices Parma ham, remove fat
1 small bag mixed salad
4oz/110g natural yoghurt
2 tbsp lemon juice
A handful of chopped herbs (parsley, chervil, basil)
- Clean the asparagus and trim any white ends or peel with a vegetable peeler
- Blanch the asparagus in boiling water for two minutes or until tender. Remove with a slotted spoon and plunge into cold water for a few minutes until cool
- Divide the asparagus into four bundles and wrap two slices of Parma ham around each
- Divide the salad leaves between four plates and place an asparagus bundle on each
- Mix the yoghurt, lemon juice and herbs together to make the dressing. Drizzle over the salad and serve
Warm Asparagus, Griddled Chicken and Feta Salad with a Red Pepper and Chilli Dressing
Preparation and cooking time: 15 minutes
1 bundle British asparagus
2 tbsp olive oil
350g chicken fillets, cut into strips
100g feta cheese, crumbled
8 cherry tomatoes, halved
For the dressing you'll need:
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 whole roasted red pepper, peeled and seeded
2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
Sea salt & black pepper
- Clean the asparagus and trim any white ends or peel with a vegetable peeler, cut each spear in half and steam for three minutes.
- Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a heavy based frying pan and add chicken fillets.Cook for two minutes each side until golden brown.
- Meanwhile put the dressing ingredients into a food processor and process until roughly blended.
- Arrange asparagus, chicken, feta and cherry tomatoes in a large serving dish and drizzle with the red pepper and chilli dressing. Serve with warm bread or steamed new potatoes.
For more information about British Asparagus season visit British Asparagus.co.uk.
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