Award-winning chef-patron Pascal Canevet, of the iconic Maison Bleue, shares a local delicacy
They say the cuckoo heralds the start of summer singing night and day in May and I’ve been lucky enough to hear it everyday here in Bury St Edmunds. With the promised bounty of summer’s harvest on our doorstep we feature the clean, fresh flavours of local produce with lighter dishes at Maison Bleue. The verdant colour and delicate spears of asparagus, grown locally in Norfolk, is an irresistible seasonal treat with its shoots first appearing in spring and transporting us into summer.
Our suppliers, W O & P O Jolly, are farmers proudly growing on the light sandy Breckland soil in Roundham, Norfolk; they hand pick the asparagus delivering mouthwatering bundles to our kitchen.
This little recipe is easy to make, you can prepare the Café de Paris butter ahead, and I’m sure you’ll agree it’s one of the best for easy summer entertaining!
SUFFOLK ASPARAGUS, CAFÉ DE PARIS BUTTER, CROMESQUIS
18 large asparagus spears
10g salted butter
Café de Paris Butter:
500g salted butter
4 egg yolks
20g Dijon mustard
1 tbsp Cognac
1 tbsp white wine
1 dash of lemon juice
1 tbsp of paprika
1 tbsp Madras curry
1 pinch of white pepper and Cayenne pepper
20g chopped parsley
10g finely chopped tarragon
1 teaspoon chopped thyme
1 teaspoon chopped rosemary leaves
3 roughly chopped anchovies, salted
20g finely diced shallots
1 crushed garlic clove
In a food processor, whisk the butter and the egg yolks until light and fluffy. Add the mustard, white wine, cognac, salt, curry, paprika and pepper and mix. Slowly add the rest of the ingredients and mix lightly until it combines evenly.
Roll the butter in cling film into a log shape and place in the fridge until ready to serve.
Peel asparagus spears from 1 inch below the tip to bottom. Place the spears on a cutting board with tips aligned and cut away the woody part of the stems, keeping each spear the same length. Add asparagus spears to seasoned boiling water and poach for 3 to 5 minutes depending on the thickness of the spears. Once cooked, place the asparagus into a bowl of iced water. This will stop the cooking process.
To make the Cromesquis:
Whisk the eggs until light and fluffy.
Cut the butter log into 3cm discs and roll in flour. Dip the butter discs in the egg and then into the breadcrumbs, shaking off excess in between. Repeat to cover all the discs and refrigerate until needed.
Place the ‘Café de Paris’ Cromesquis in a deep fat fryer, turning occasionally, until crisp and golden (4-5 minutes). Add the Cromesquis to the serving plate.
In the meantime, place 10g of butter in a saucepan over a high heat. Carefully place the asparagus in the pan for 1 to 2 mins depending on the size of the spears. Season to taste and plate.
Pascal Canevet is chef chef-patron of award-winning Maison Bleue, an intimate fine-dining restaurant serving a modern French menu.
Churchgate Street, Bury St Edmunds.