It’s asparagus season at the moment in New Zealand and I love asparagus, its high in fibre, vitamins A,C and E and many trace minerals such as selenium, plus of course it is absolutely delicious. We enjoy asparagus in many different ways but this is one of my favourites, grilled with piles of garlicky tzatziki. In my much younger days we spent several summers on Paros one of the Greek islands, there we ate tzatziki a lot, I mean a lot. It was never served to us with cucumber added or any fresh herbs like so many of recipes you see now but was simply strained ewes milk yoghurt blended with garlic, salt, lemon zest and olive oil. I have recreated tzatziki many times over the years but the main element the ewes milk yoghurt has been very difficult to obtain in New Zealand. So I am delighted that right here in Nelson a rich creamy ewes milk yoghurt is now being produced. Ewes milk is much higher in vitamins, protein and calcium than cows milk also as it is A2 milk it is much easier to digest and many people that cannot take the casein in regular cows milk are able to eat ewes milk. The Thorvald sheeps milk yoghurt is rich and thick and in this recipe I have even not bothered to strain it, but to make it even thicker and creamier and more authentic then simply strain it overnight in the refrigerator in a sieve lined with muslin over a bowlIngredients. For two
enough asparagus for two, I am using fat asparagus but thin ones work just as well.
zest of one lemon.
1 clove of garlic, smallish or it will be very overpowering.
30ml plus of good olive oil.
salt. Very important in the tzatziki.
caviar (fish eggs, I like pink but black is also good) optional.
In New Zealand we always break the ends off the asparagus, this ensures removing all the woody tough ends. You can cut them if you want uniformity in length but if you do you cannot be sure of tender stems. After removing the ends add to a roasting pan with a good glug of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Place under a hot grill to cook, keep an eye on them, they will take from 5 to 10 minutes depending on the thickness. Insert a sharp knife at the end to check for tenderness, I prefer a just cooked asparagus. If like me your asparagus is thick you can pull the pointy end out slightly from the grill to allow the stems to cook a bit more than the tips.
This is how they will look when they are done, a little wrinkly but softish. I have grilled a couple of lemon wedges too.
While the asparagus is grilling prepare the tzatziki, zest the lemon and chop it a bit more, add to a bowl with 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Crush the garlic, use a crusher as you dont want lumps just the juice really and add to the bowl then add the yoghurt and stir.Add a tablespoon or so of the olive oil and stir, you can refrigerate the tzatziki until ready to serve.Asemblage time. Artiscally arrange the grilled asparagus onto a plate.Top with half the tzatziki, some dollops of caviar a sprinkle of black pepper, maybe some extra lemon zest and a generous glug of olive oil. This is totally sublime.