April showers have certainly brought May flowers… and amazing asparagus! May is National Asparagus Month and we are lucky to have fresh, Kentish asparagus delivered straight to our doors by our produce supplier Foodari. They source all of their produce directly from farms across southeast England to provide as many local products to us as possible. Their asparagus is no different, grown and cultivated by the Dyas family at Sevenscore farm in Manston, Kent.
Asparagus has been cultivated for culinary and medicinal purposes for more than 2,000 years and Grower Nicky Dyas has done it justice by growing some of the best asparagus in the UK (in our opinion anyway)!
The Sevenscore Story
The Dyas family have lived and farmed at Sevenscore Farm in Manston since 1966. Sevenscore is situated at the base of the Isle of Thanet in East Kent. Looking West across the marshes and fields of Kent lies the cathedral city of Canterbury while to the East is the sea at Pegwell Bay and the towns of Ramsgate and Broadstairs. The farm has various soil types, from shallow soils over chalk at the top of Thanet, to deep brick earth from the silts and clays of the marshes next to the River Stour. This means they can grow a variety of crops such as wheat, peas and linseed and vegetables like onions, cauliflower, cabbage, purple sprouting broccoli and, most importantly, asparagus.
The Dyas family first tried growing asparagus in the family kitchen garden and discovered that it not only seemed to thrive, but the deep brick earth seemed to impart it with a fantastic intense flavour. In the Spring of 2005 they hand planted seven acres of asparagus and had their first harvest in 2007. Their asparagus is so popular, customers return year after year, singing praises for the intense flavour and freshness of this fantastic Kentish asparagus!
Grower Nicky Dyas and the Sevenscore team takes great care when picking and delivering their prize asparagus, cutting it by hand early each day to ensure it is fresh and at its best when it’s time to sell. It is quickly brought in from the fields to the cutting room and shop, where it is carefully washed, graded and prepared for sale. By preparing and chilling the asparagus quickly before it is sold ensures quality and freshness.
We are honouring this fantastic, super healthy vegetable with two of Head Executive Chef Jon Day’s favourite recipes. Give them a try and enjoy this fantastic vegetable this month!
ASPARAGUS AND POTATO FRITATTA
200g New Potatoes, quartered
100g Asparagus Tips
1Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Onion finely chopped
6 Free Range Eggs beaten
40g Mature Cheddar grated
- Heat the grill to high. Put the potatoes in a pan of cold salted water and bring to the boil. Once boiling, cook for 4-5 mins until nearly tender, then add the asparagus for an initial 1 minute. Drain.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in an ovenproof frying pan and add the onion. Cook for about 8 mins until softened.
- Mix the eggs with half the cheese in a jug and season well. Pour over the onion in the pan, then scatter over the asparagus and potatoes. Top with the remaining cheese and put under the grill for 5 mins or until golden and cooked through. Cut into wedges and serve from the pan with salad.
ROSEMARY CHICKEN THIGHS WITH ASPARAGUS, NEW POTATOES AND GARLIC
750g New Potatos
2 Large Bunches of Asparagus
1 Whole Garlic Clove
1TBSP Olive Oil
1 Lemon, cut it half
Small Handful of Rosemary
8 Chicken Thighs
Salt and Pepper to season
- Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Put the potatoes, asparagus, garlic cloves, oil and lots of seasoning in a large roasting dish (about 30 x 20cm). Squeeze lemon juice over the dish, then cut the remaining lemon into chunks and add to the dish. Toss everything together, cover the dish with foil, and roast for about 15 mins.
- Remove the foil and mix through the rosemary. Season the chicken thighs and arrange evenly in the dish.
- Roast for another 25-30 mins until the potatoes are tender, and the chicken is crisp and cooked through. Serve the dish in the middle of the table for everyone to share.