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Charred English asparagus & prosciutto

Charred English asparagus & prosciutto

In volume six of Stories, we introduced you to a Somerset-based chef who we’ve known, loved and worked with for many years – Sam Wylde. The six mini festive recipes he ‘cooked up’ went down a treat with our readers, so for summer, he’s back with four dishes for a fresh and wholesome summer barbecue.

The thinking behind the dishes – by Sam Wylde

I went to write, ‘who doesn’t love a barbecue?’, but then I thought, I actually know a number of people who don’t. And I think the reason for that is because if you want to do more than classic burgers, hot dogs and vegetable skewers, it can be a bit confusing to know where to start.

But that’s a great opportunity. British barbecue cooking has steadily become more adventurous over the last decade. Flavours from all over the world translate to the barbecue, from sweet and smoky hickory aromas of the Deep South, to Portuguese and Latin marinades like the Mojo de Ajo I use in the first recipe.

Overall though, I’ve come at each of these barbecue recipes with the same approach as I do with everything – simple ingredients that go together brilliantly, are easy to cook, and taste great. There’s a good balance between depth of flavour, fresh aromas, lightness when eating (so you can eat as much as possible!) and a fresh aftertaste. They’re what I cook when I’m chief barbecue-r at home with my friends and family.

They work really well all together, but you can just add in one or two to sit amongst burgers in buns and coleslaw if you’d rather.

Makes enough for four–six.

Put aside: five minutes for prep and three minutes for cooking.

What you’ll need

12 stems of English asparagus
12 slices of prosciutto
20g pecorino shaved
A drizzle of olive oil
A sprinkling of sea salt flakes and cracked black pepper

What to do

  1. Holding each asparagus stem at the root and about a third of the way up the stem, bend it until it snaps. When they’re fresh, they’ll naturally do this where the woody end (which you can throw away) gives way to the tender part.
  2. Drizzle the asparagus with oil and barbecue them on the hot grill until the edges begin to char, turning them occasionally. This should only take three minutes.
  3. Allow the asparagus to cool a little and then wrap each one with a slice of prosciutto.
  4. Lay them out, or pile them high, and grate over the cheese, drizzle more oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

A tip or two

English asparagus is usually harvested from St George’s Day (23rd April), and for me, it’s the best asparagus in the world. It has a short season, and is best on the barbecue until early July when it begins to go a bit woody. If you’re barbecuing after that and are looking for a substitution, try French beans or courgette wedges.

This recipe is best served slightly warm, so if you’re cooking them with the sardines, you can put them onto the grill at the same time.

And wherever we refer to grilling, make sure you heat your barbecue until the charcoal is burning white, the flames have gone, and the grill-top is piping hot.

You can find out more about Sam on his website.

Tags: Recipes