Asparagus is a beautiful vegetable that sums up the fleeting joy of seasonal eating like no other. There’s just a few weeks when the markets are spotted with tables stacked high with elastic banded bunches.
Asparagus spears have this delightful crunch to them. They're bright, fresh, and tender. Somehow the short season makes them more delicious, as if the waiting makes them better. Delayed gratification really does pay off.
I always buy a shit-tonne of spears and then I need to find inventive ways to use them. My go-to breakfast at the moment is boiled eggs and asparagus spears with super buttery toast. It satisfies every springtime craving I have. But I’ve also been experimenting with new ways to cook them up and I thought I’d share one with you.
Fresh Rice Paper Rolls with Asparagus
I love to make rice paper rolls from scratch, but they can be a bit time consuming. I reckon the best way to do it is to prep your mis en place and then line up something good on Netflix while you roll, baby, roll.
The Mis En Place
First: cook up some rice vermicelli noodles. Cool them down under running water and then dress them with a little sweet chilli, fish sauce and lime juice
Empty the contents of your fridge. What veggies do you have? Carrots? Cabbage? Capsicum? Anything you can slice up real thin and eat raw is a good time. Get choppin’
Whisk up a couple of eggs with a splash of soy sauce and make a thin omelette. Roll it up into a cigar and then slice it into ribbons. Obviously skip this step if you are a vegan.
TIME FOR THE ASPARAGUS! Wipe clean the fry pan you used for the omelette and get it good and hot with a splash of oil. Pan fry the spears until they’re juuuuust cooked, and then spritz them with a little lemon juice. If you’re feeling extra fancy, roll the spears in sesame seeds
Choose your protein! The omelette is great, but feel free to chuck in anything else you’ve got lying around. A little cooked chicken/fried tofu etcetc.
This is a good time to locate any appropriate herbs you’ve got lying around: coriander/spring onions/mint whatevs
This is the time for that Netflix binge. Set up your laptop in a corner of the kitchen and lay out all your prep in a line. Set up a dish with hot water to soften up the rice paper in, and a large plate to roll on.
The asparagus spears are generally pretty long so I made these rolls open ended, which has the added benefit of making them look pretty. I store my rolls on a flat tray with baking paper between them to prevent anything sticking.
Mix up a little dipping sauce of sweet chilli, hoi sin and lime juice and enjoy the spoils of your labour. I recommend making more than you need, because everything will keep in the fridge for a day or two and you’ll get to feel smug about your meal prep.