Cooking at the countryside needs to be easy and fun and because it is easter time, it seemed perfect to grill some crispy asparagus. Not only are they in season now, but this dish makes a flavourful comforting lunch with the right amount of crunch, sweetness and depth. You could basically eat the asparagus as crispy fries, but they are also wonderful paired with an earthy artichoke puree that is an elegant and refined combination.
Find the recipe for the crispy asparagus from here. However, instead of baking the asparagus in an oven, we cooked them in a grill for about 15 minutes.
Boil the peeled artichokes and potatoes in a pot until almost cooked through. (Easiest to check with a knife to see when the middle is soft, then they are done)
Pour most of the water away and leave a few tablespoons in the bottom of the pot. Place back on heat, add a dollop of butter, the shallot, garlic, sage and sauté gently. Add the cream and the vegetable stock and let it cook for 10 minutes so the flavours emerge together. Then purée the mixture with a handheld blender to the consistency you like. I like to leave some chunks of artichoke and potato so it is not too smooth. If the puree seems to dry, add a bit of water or more cream for your desired liking. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Once the asparagus are grilled or baked in the oven, you are ready to plate. Place some artichoke puree on the plate, lift some asparagus on top, add some black pepper and a few sprigs of thyme.