Asparagas with Quail’s eggs & Chervil butter sauce

English Asparagus is in season between April and June. Whilst it’s a short season, its worth the wait. It arrives early in Cornwall and later as you travel further North., actually Native to Britian but now grown Worldwide, the asparagus is often grown in coastal areas as it is enjoys growing in soil that’s a little salty. 

White and green asparagus are the same plant but white asparagus has been denied sunlight, by having soil piled up around it-known as blanching which stops the photosynthesis keeping the spears white. They are however slightly bitter in taste as a result. 

a simple, yet delicious recipe, which you can choose to serve with or without the eggs. 
Serves Four

8 White asparagus spears

8 green asparagus spears

20g unsalted butter

Pinch of salt

Pinch of sugar

Sprig of fresh thyme

16 quail’s eggs

Vegetable oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Fresh chervil leaves picked

For the chervil butter sauce

50ml vegetable stock

100g unsalted butter

Fresh chervil, copped

First prepare the asparagus. For the white asparagus, peel them to the same thickness and cut them all to the same length. Place them in a sauce pan and add the butter, salt, sugar and sprig of thyme.

Cover with water and bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer until cooked through. Remove from the heat and leave to cool in the cooking stock.

The green asparagus should only be peeled if very thick. Just pick off any rogue leaves from the stems and cut to the same length. It is important, however, that they are the same thickness; if not cook them in two separate batches. In boiling salted water, cook the green asparagus on a rolling boil. Once cooked, remove carefully and place it in a bowl of iced water.

For the quail’s eggs:

Rub a large non-stick pan with some butter and heat lightly, remove from the heat and using a small knife, carefully crack the quail’s eggs in a pan, keeping them separate. Simmer gently for about 1 minute, until the whites are set, then remove from the pan and place onto a tray that has been oiled or buttered. Take some clingfilm and oil it and place the oiled surface on top of the quail’s eggs and keep refrigerated until needed.

For the chervil butter sauce:

Warm the vegetable stock then whisk in the butter and season. Chop the chervil finely.

When ready to serve, pre-heat the oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4. Reheat the green asparagus in a little water and butter with salt and pepper. Reheat the white asparagus in its cooking liquid.

Remove the cling film from the quails eggs and place the tray in the oven for two to three minutes. While the eggs are warming, drain the asparagus and arrange onto your serving plate (two white and two green per person). Season the qual’s eggs with salt and pepper and place four on each plate. Now add your chopped chervil to the sauce, bring the boil, and pour the sauce over the dish. Garnish with chervil leaves and serve.