Three spring recipes inspired by Borough Market
Asparagus with quail’s eggs and shaved truffle
It seems odd to begin this recipe by declaring myself a truffle sceptic, but there you go. Or rather, I am a former truffle sceptic. Tartufaia gave me a truffle taste epiphany and now I pester them at the stall asking advice on what truffle to use with what and when. Not that they ever seem to mind. Mario Prati is a trader passionate about his wares.
This recipe could be made with shavings of fresh spring truffle, and that’s what I would do if scaling it up for more people. But for such a small amount for one person have on standby a small jar of sliced summer truffle, which Tartufaia preserve in sunflower oil.
Serves: 1 as a breakfast, lunch or light supper
1 bundle of asparagus spears, about 250g
1 tbsp olive oil
2 quail’s eggs
1 tsp shaved summer truffle in oil
Preheat the oven to 190C fan/210C/410F/gas mark 6.
Snap the tough ends off the asparagus spears (keep them for stock). Sit the spears in a roasting tray, drizzle with the oil, toss to coat and scatter over some salt. Roast for 6-10 minutes, depending on how thick the spears are. They are ready when tender to the point of a knife and charring.
While the asparagus spears are roasting, bring a small saucepan of water to the boil. About halfway through the asparagus cooking time, lower the eggs into the water and simmer for 1½ minutes, then drain and run under cold water to stop them cooking further.
Lift the cooked asparagus spears onto a plate. Drizzle over the oil left behind in the roasting tray. Scatter over the truffle shavings, then peel the shells from the eggs and nestle them around the asparagus so that when you cut into them their soft yolks envelop the spears. Finish with lots of freshly ground black pepper and serve immediately.
Hot anchovy and garlic sauce for roasted purple sprouting broccoli and walnuts
This version of garlic and anchovy bagna cauda sauce relies on making good choices about the anchovies you use in it. My anchovy essential – the beautiful box I am never without a fair few of in my store cupboard – is Ortiz from Brindisa. As wonderful as they’d certainly be in here, this recipe tempts me instead to head to De Calabria to find ones just as glorious, and somewhat closer to the sauce’s Italian roots.
Anchovies are a wonderful partner for broccoli, and so especially delicious with the purple sprouting variety. Roasted walnuts bring texture and flavour to a dish that works as a side, as a starter, piled on toast for lunch, or even tossed through pasta.
Serves: 4 as a small plate or side
250g purple sprouting broccoli
2 tbsp olive oil
For the anchovy and garlic sauce:
6 garlic cloves
12 anchovy fillets in oil
120g unsalted butter
120ml olive oil
1 tbsp creme fraiche
Preheat the oven to 190C fan/210C/410F/gas mark 6.
Trim off any very woody ends of the broccoli, then slice the stems horizontally into thinner lengths, being sure to keep the leaves. Toss in the olive oil and arrange in a single layer in a roasting tray. Season lightly. Roast in the oven for 12 minutes, until starting to char. Use that time to lightly crush the walnuts, then scatter them over the broccoli and return the tray to the oven for a further 3 minutes.
While the broccoli is roasting, prepare the sauce: peel and halve the garlic cloves, removing any green in their centres. Put the milk into a small saucepan, add the garlic cloves and cook gently over a low heat until tender – it will take about 15 minutes. That’s almost exactly as long as the broccoli and nuts take to roast, but if they are ready first, just set the tray aside out of the oven while you finish the sauce.
Take the pan off the heat and mash the tender garlic cloves into the milk. Drain the anchovies of their oil and stir them into the milk until dissolved. Dice the butter into pieces then, over a low heat, whisk in with the olive oil and creme fraiche.
Serve the sauce with the broccoli and nuts while it is all still hot.
Cherry meringue roulade
See the stacks of beautiful meringues over at Comptoir Gourmand and you’ll want to know their head chef Victor Arias’s advice on making the best meringues – crispy outside and gooey inside: “Use the freshest eggs you can get your hands on. The egg whites must be at room temperature to achieve the lightest meringue, as it creates the biggest volume and they will whip faster than cold eggs. Always start to whip slowly and gradually increase the speed. This goes for using an electric or hand-held whisk. Our top tip is always leave meringues in the oven (turned off) once cooked, to stop them from cracking.”
Here the meringue is wrapped around cherries that have macerated in sweet vermouth and lavender for a fruitily musky hit amongst the sweet meringue and cream. Sheer decadence and elegance.
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
200g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp cornflour
2 tbsp icing sugar
400ml double cream
75g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
For the cherry filling:
250g fresh cherries
250ml sweet vermouth
½ tsp dried lavender
1 tsp cornflour
You will need a 23 x 32cm baking tray.
Preheat the oven to 170C fan/190C/375F/gas mark 5. Grease the baking tray, then line it with baking paper that comes 1cm higher than the sides.
Whisk the egg whites in a large, very clean mixing bowl until stiff. Add 1 tablespoon of the caster sugar, whisk again, then add the rest of the sugar in stages, whisking constantly until the mixture forms stiff peaks. Then, very carefully, fold in the vanilla extract, vinegar and cornflour. Spoon the meringue mix onto the prepared tray and loosely spread it to the edges with the back of a spoon. Put it into the oven, straight away turning the temperature down to 130C fan/150C/300F/gas mark 2. Bake for 30 minutes, by which time the meringue should have a bit of a crust and feel firm to the touch. Turn the oven off and leave the meringue inside to cool.
While the meringue is baking, halve and stone the cherries. Put them into a saucepan along with the vermouth and lavender and simmer for 10 minutes over a low-medium heat. Mix the cornflour with 2 teaspoons cold water, then add it to the pan of cherries and simmer for another couple of minutes so that the juices thicken. Set aside to cool.
To build your roulade, sift half the icing sugar over a large piece of baking paper. Carefully turn the meringue onto it, then peel off the paper the meringue cooked on. Whip the double cream in a bowl with the rest of the icing sugar. Spread the cream over the meringue, leaving a border around the edge of 2cm or so. Spoon the cooled cherries and their sauce over the cream.
Roll up the roulade starting from one of its short edges – go as tightly as you can, using the paper to help you. Carefully transfer to a serving plate and chill for at least 30 minutes.
Break the chocolate into a heatproof bowl suspended over a pan of simmering water (making sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl). Once the chocolate has melted, take the bowl off the pan and let it cool for just 10 seconds as you take the roulade out of the fridge. Use a fork to drizzle the melted chocolate over the roulade, then return it to the fridge to carry on firming up.
Slice to serve.