In season: avocados, asparagus and Asian greens
Avocados, asparagus and Asian greens — yummy, healthy and in season now.
Thank goodness for the arrival of decent avocados. And at such an affordable price they make a nutritious addition to the daily menu. They contain 50 per cent more potassium than bananas and a heap of vital vitamins. Cholesterol-free, avocados contain 15 grams of fat per 100g, most of it the good-for-you mono unsaturated kind.
Be careful when cooking this fruit. (Yes, it’s a fruit.) Heat affects the oils and causes an unpleasant ‘off’flavour. Add avocados to hot foods at the last minute away from the hob or oven. If stuffing and baking, combine cold avocado with the hot food and return it to the shell. Place briefly under a grill, to brown the top.
And hurrah for lots of low-cal asparagus. But choose wisely. Buds opening on the stalk indicate that the spear was picked too late and it could be tough. Conversely, if the white ends extend too far up the stem, then the asparagus has been picked too early
Choy is the Chinese name given to any leafy vegetable so there is some confusion over the naming of the different Asian greens. Bok choy is one of our most common. However, it is also called Shanghai cabbage or baby pak choy by some retailers. Thinly slice the thick, crisp, tender, juicy white stems and smooth green leaves and use raw in salads, or steam whole or slice for stir-fries. The larger pak choy is tougher and is best enjoyed cooked.
To prepare asparagus for cooking, first snap off any tough white ends. Remove any tough scales with a vegetable peeler. This salad makes an appetising main or accompaniment to a grill. Get the recipe
Serves one hungry person or two as a light meal. Get the recipe
I like to store asparagus wrapped in wet paper towels in the refrigerator. Get the recipe
Steamed bok choy with sesame and ginger sauce
Other Asian greens and broccolini also benefit from this sauce. Serves 4.
4 small bunches bok choy
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons finely grated root ginger
1 teaspoon each: Asian sesame oil, sesame seeds
- Wash the bok choy and stand in a small saucepan, white ends down. Add a 1/2 cup of water. Cover with a bowl. Steam for about 4 minutes, until the white ends are crisp-tender.
- Meanwhile combine the soy sauce, honey, ginger and sesame oil. Drizzle over the cooked bok choy. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds.