asparagus, eggs, ham
Asparagus season is short, and it signals the start of a summer of fresh produce to enjoy straight from the farm. 2 North Parade in Oxford loves to source their seasonal vegetables from local suppliers who share their commitment for freshness and quality.
A recent visit to Medley Manor Farm in Oxford was a unique chance to see how asparagus is harvested and gathered for people eager to enjoy it straight from the farm to their table.
I had heard tales about how rapidly asparagus grows when it finally emerges in the spring sunshine. Though it's hard to imagine a vegetable that grows 6-8 inches a day... when Charlie Gee and colleagues at Medley Manor Farm (medleymanorfarm.co.uk) get to the end of the field, it's ready for them to start all over again.
Back at 2 North Parade (www.2northparade.com) it was time to marry these gorgeous stalks of green lusciousness with other items carefully selected by the expert eye of Peter Slade.
With the vision in mind of a simple dish comprised of the tastiest asparagus, eggs and ham ever, we opted for some air-dried ham prepared by James Swift from Trealy Farm, Monmouthshire, (www.trealyfarm.com) and some free-range eggs collected that morning from Mayfield House, New Yatt, Oxfordshire (www.mayfieldhouse.eu).
At home, time was of the essence to maximise the freshness of these fantastic ingredients.
The asparagus was briefly blanched in boiling salted water and then sauteed gently in butter for a few minutes. The ham was perfect as it was, and the eggs were poached for 3 minutes before being put together with their new best friends on the plate - the bread, asparagus and ham.
A few twists of pepper and a pinch of salt, and well, all was well indeed.
With thanks to many new friends that made this tale from the farm to the table possible.
Interior photo styling: Tanya Robinson
Stay tuned for more culinary adventures soon.