If you’re a Melbourne food lover, this month’s Tasty Tuesday contributor should need no introduction. Andrew McConnell is an acclaimed chef, founder and operator of some of this city’s best restaurants, cookbook author and columnist, butcher shop owner and, recently, keen veggie gardener. Since opening his first restaurant, Diningroom 211, in 2002, Andrew has helped create a distinctly ‘Melburnian’ style of dining.
Eve and I (Lucy) were very lucky last month to spend a day in the kitchen with Andrew, as he shared with us four intensely tasty, yet deceptively simple recipes from his latest cookbook – Supernormal. Inspired by his restaurant of the same name, this more-ish menu of share dishes offers a unique take on modern Japanese, Korean and Chinese cuisine.
This would have to be my preferred way to cook asparagus, particularly over hot coals. The barbeque blisters and chars the outer skin, leaving the heart of the asparagus crisp and fresh. This technique is easy to master and brings so much flavour to the asparagus.
It’s equally as delicious when served with a little lemon juice and good quality olive oil. Left to marinade at room temperature for an hour, this simple combination can be a standalone antipasto appetiser!
Ingredients (Serves 4 as a starter)
- 2 tspn grapeseed oil
- 2 Chinese sausages (lap cheong), finely diced
- 2 bunches asparagus
- sea salt
- ½ tspn lemon juice
For the mayonnaise
- 1 egg
- ½ tspn Dijon mustard
- 60ml grapeseed oil
- 1 tspn lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped pickled mustard stem
- ground white pepper
- sea salt
To make the mayonnaise.
Bring a small saucepan of water to the boil, add the egg and cook for 5 minutes. Cool the egg in a bowl of iced water.
Peel the egg and put in a medium bowl then break it up into small pieces with a fork. Whisk in the mustard then whisk in the oil, little by little, until it is emulsified. Stir in the lemon juice and pickled mustard stem and season with salt and white pepper.
Gently warm 1 teaspoon of the grapeseed oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Set aside to cool. Once cool, use a mortar and pestle to pound the sausage until it resembles rough crumbs.
Trim the tough ends off the asparagus. Heat a chargrilled pan or barbeque until very hot. Toss the asparagus in the remaining grapeseed oil and grill for 2 minutes on each side or until nicely charred.
Remove the asparagus from the grill, lightly season with sea salt and slice the spears into 3 on a sharp angle.
To serve, place a spoonful of mayonnaise on a serving plate and arrange the asparagus on top. Spoon more mayonnaise in and around the asparagus. Finish by sprinkling over the sausage crumb and lemon juice.