Recipe of the week: Bruce McMichael’s Kentish asparagus

Mount Vineyard sparkling wine

Tunbridge Wells Farmers’ Market manager and food writer Bruce McMichael shares his griddled Kentish asparagus recipe, as part of a foodie feature in May’s So Magazines. Keep an eye out for the new issue when it hits shelves at the start of May.

Griddled Kentish asparagus with prosciutto ham and orange hollandaise

Serves 4

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 25 minutes


  • 12 medium asparagus spears
  • Olive or rapeseed oil
  • 2 rashers prosciutto ham per three asparagus spears, lightly sautéed
  • Orange zest
  • Few drops of balsamic vinegar


Remove the woody ends from the asparagus and boil the spears in a large pan of salted water for three minutes. Drain, then plunge the spears into ice-cold water to stop the cooking and set the colour. Pat the asparagus dry.

Oil the spears lightly. Leave a large cast-iron griddle over a high heat until it’s very hot, then arrange the spears on it in a single layer. Reduce the heat to medium and cook the spears for three to four minutes. Turn with tongs and keep on the heat until the spears are lightly browned and tender to the point of a knife.

Wrap the prosciutto slices around the spears and place on a serving platter, then sprinkle with the orange zest and balsamic vinegar. Serve hot.

For the hollandaise sauce

  • 125g butter
  • 2 fresh egg yolks
  • 1/2tsp white wine vinegar or tarragon vinegar
  • Pinch of salt
  • Splash of ice-cold water
  • Juice of half a smallish orange
  • Generous pinch of cayenne pepper


Melt the butter in a saucepan, remove any white solids from the surface and keep warm. Mix the egg yolks, vinegar, salt and water in a metal or glass bowl that will fit over a small pan. Whisk for a few minutes, then put the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Whisk continuously for about three to five minutes, until the mixture becomes pale and thick.

Remove from the heat and gently whisk in the melted butter bit by bit, until it’s all incorporated and you have a creamy hollandaise. (Should the hollandaise thicken too much, add a splash of cold water.) Season with one or two squeezes of orange juice and a generous pinch cayenne pepper.

Keep warm until needed. Serve with toasted sourdough or a French stick, using the hollandaise as a dipping sauce.

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