On Labour day we spent the entire day inside not leaving the house. While it was cold and rainy outside we cranked the heating, ditched our lunch plans and made use of some pantry staples and delicious spring asparagus.
Asparagus has to be one of my favourite parts of spring – I love it blistered on the outside and still crunchy in the centre. Tonnato sauce is truly Italian and usually has capers blended within. I like to add crunchy pickles on top for added texture. The sauce works well with loads of other vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower as well as traditional veal. It’ll keep in the fridge for up to a week.
1 large can tuna, drained
1/3 cup good mayonnaise
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Juice of a lemon
Good pinch of sea salt
2 bunches asparagus, woody ends chopped off
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup olives, pipped
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
6 pickles, thinly sliced
Juice and zest of half a lemon
Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
1/2 cup pecorino (or parmesan) freshly grated
For the tonnato, blitz all ingredients together in a food processor until smooth.
Heat oil and asparagus in a cast iron skillet (or BBQ) over medium-high heat. Season with salt and pepper and cook turning occasionally, until asparagus begins to blacken and soften slightly, about 5-6 minutes. You may need to cook in batches depending on the size of your skillet.
Serve asparagus on a large platter topped with 1/2 tonnato sauce (with the rest in a self-help bowl), olives, walnuts, pickles, lemon zest and juice, a drizzle of olive oil and pecorino.