Asparagus with gnocchi, fermented garlic and Montgomery Cheddar custard

Ron cleverly complemented Wye Valley asparagus with unctuous homemade parmesan gnocchi, jewels of fermented garlic and moreish Montgomery Cheddar custard to create a celebration of this short seasoned star of the vegetable world.

Yields4 Servings
 1 large waxy potato
 2 tsp parmesan, grated
 75g flour
 50ml whole milk
 50 ml water
 75g Montgomery cheddar, grated
 2 eggs
 16 spears Wye Valley asparagus
 1 tbsp of Pedro Ximenez vinegar
 75ml extra virgin olive oil
 8 fermented (black) garlic cloves
 1 punnet pea shoots
 500g clarified butter
 1tbsp unsalted butter
1

Preheat the oven to 180C/ 350F/ gas mark 4

2

Bake the potato for 40 minutes until cooked through. When slightly cool, cut it in 1/2 and scoop out the flesh and push through a sieve or ricer.

3

Combine the potato, parmesan and half the flour with a pinch of salt, and knead gently. Add more flour if needed to form dough that is not sticky but pliable. The trick is to add as little flour as possible.

4

Dust the work surfaces with flour and roll the dough into 1 and 1/2 cm thick cylinders, then cut into 2cm long pieces. Place the gnocchi on a tray dusted with four, and freeze.

5

For the Custard, put the milk, water and cheddar into a heavy bottomed pan over a medium heat. Stir constantly until the cheddar has dissolved and the liquid comes to a gentle simmer. Add the eggs and stir vigorously until the incorporated. Continue to cook until the eggs curdle (start to form lumps) then remove from the heat. Transfer onto a metal tray and refrigerate.

6

Once the custard is cold, place in a blender and liquidise until it is smooth and creamy. Pour the custard into a disposable piping bag, seal it and place in the fridge. (It will thicken to a piping consistency when it it cold).

7

Snap off the bases of the asparagus spears. Peel stems of the 12, then blanch in boiling slated water. Shave the remaining 4 spears as finely as possible on a mandolin, place in a tub and cover with water. Cut the pea shoots and wash thoroughly.

8

Whisk the vinegar and olive oil together to make a vinaigrette. Cut the cloves of garlic in 1/2 and place between two sheets of oiled parchment paper. Gently push them flat with your thumb into small discs (About the size of a 50p piece).

9

To serve, heat the clarified butter to 160C in a pan. Place the frozen gnocchi in carefully and cool 'til golden brown. Meanwhile, reheat the asparagus spears in boiling, salted water.

10

Transfer the gnocchi and asparagus into a saucepan with the regular butter and keep warm. In a bowl, toss together the shaved asparagus, pea shoots and vinaigrette.

11

Arrange the gnocchi and asparagus spears on the plates, pipe on the custard in four or five dollops. Divide the fermented garlic around each plate and top each dish with the shaved asparagus and pea shoot salad. (The dish works particularly well when garnished with wild garlic flowers too) Serve Immediately.

Category

Ingredients

 1 large waxy potato
 2 tsp parmesan, grated
 75g flour
 50ml whole milk
 50 ml water
 75g Montgomery cheddar, grated
 2 eggs
 16 spears Wye Valley asparagus
 1 tbsp of Pedro Ximenez vinegar
 75ml extra virgin olive oil
 8 fermented (black) garlic cloves
 1 punnet pea shoots
 500g clarified butter
 1tbsp unsalted butter

Directions

1

Preheat the oven to 180C/ 350F/ gas mark 4

2

Bake the potato for 40 minutes until cooked through. When slightly cool, cut it in 1/2 and scoop out the flesh and push through a sieve or ricer.

3

Combine the potato, parmesan and half the flour with a pinch of salt, and knead gently. Add more flour if needed to form dough that is not sticky but pliable. The trick is to add as little flour as possible.

4

Dust the work surfaces with flour and roll the dough into 1 and 1/2 cm thick cylinders, then cut into 2cm long pieces. Place the gnocchi on a tray dusted with four, and freeze.

5

For the Custard, put the milk, water and cheddar into a heavy bottomed pan over a medium heat. Stir constantly until the cheddar has dissolved and the liquid comes to a gentle simmer. Add the eggs and stir vigorously until the incorporated. Continue to cook until the eggs curdle (start to form lumps) then remove from the heat. Transfer onto a metal tray and refrigerate.

6

Once the custard is cold, place in a blender and liquidise until it is smooth and creamy. Pour the custard into a disposable piping bag, seal it and place in the fridge. (It will thicken to a piping consistency when it it cold).

7

Snap off the bases of the asparagus spears. Peel stems of the 12, then blanch in boiling slated water. Shave the remaining 4 spears as finely as possible on a mandolin, place in a tub and cover with water. Cut the pea shoots and wash thoroughly.

8

Whisk the vinegar and olive oil together to make a vinaigrette. Cut the cloves of garlic in 1/2 and place between two sheets of oiled parchment paper. Gently push them flat with your thumb into small discs (About the size of a 50p piece).

9

To serve, heat the clarified butter to 160C in a pan. Place the frozen gnocchi in carefully and cool 'til golden brown. Meanwhile, reheat the asparagus spears in boiling, salted water.

10

Transfer the gnocchi and asparagus into a saucepan with the regular butter and keep warm. In a bowl, toss together the shaved asparagus, pea shoots and vinaigrette.

11

Arrange the gnocchi and asparagus spears on the plates, pipe on the custard in four or five dollops. Divide the fermented garlic around each plate and top each dish with the shaved asparagus and pea shoot salad. (The dish works particularly well when garnished with wild garlic flowers too) Serve Immediately.

Asparagus with gnocchi, fermented garlic and Montgomery Cheddar custard