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Asparagus with Crab Butter recipe plus wine matching

PUBLISHED: 11:13 21 May 2013 | UPDATED: 11:13 21 May 2013

This month's recipe

This month's recipe

Archant

This light, seasonal dish is best enjoyed al fresco with friends

Serves 4

***

Ingredients:

500g asparagus spears, trimmed

50g butter

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 red chilli, finely chopped

1 tbsp flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

100g fresh crabmeat

1 lime, halved

***

Method:

1 Steam the asparagus over a pan of boiling water for 4 - 6 minutes or until the stems are just tender.

2 Meanwhile, heat the butter in a frying pan and fry the garlic, chilli and parsley for 2 minutes without colouring the garlic.

3 Stir in the crabmeat and allow it to heat through for a minute, then take the pan off the heat and add a squeeze of lime juice and a little salt and pepper to taste.

4 When the asparagus is ready, divide it between four warm plates and spoon over the crab butter.

***

Find it in Hampshire

asparagus Durleighmarsh Farm Shop, Petersfield, 01730 821626 www.durleighmarshfarmshop.co.uk

crab Kerri’s Catch, Portsmouth, 02392 756934 Visit their stall at Hampshire Farmers’ Markets

garlic The Garlic Farm, Isle of Wight, 01983 865378 www.thegarlicfarm.co.uk

***

Serving suggestions

Drink: Mark Bedford, Caviste

“With the sun rising higher day by day, may brings out the best in our spirits as the seasonal cycle progresses towards longer days, drier ground and more time spent with friends eating and drinking. Susie’s asparagus and crab butter recipe is packed full of flavour and general good feeling, so I have started the month’s recommendations with the best Brut Nature Cava that money can buy, then remained within the same area of Northeast Spain with a beautiful Albariño before travelling up to the Touraine region of the Loire Valley where we encounter a flavoursome Sauvignon Blanc.”

Eat: Susie Carter, Susie’s Kitchen

“Last year was one of the worst on record for English asparagus, with the weather drying up and then drowning the fields, so this year I’m determined to make the most of the new harvest. This dish is a fool-proof dinner party starter and showcases another new season favourite: crab. If you have the patience, buy a whole crab from the farmers’ market and pick it yourself. Alternatively the same stalls sell little trays of fresh crabmeat for not much more money. I use a mixture of brown and white meat in this dish, but feel free to use all white if you prefer.”

***

Wines of the month

Mas Bertran Balma Cava 2008

(Penedes, Catalonia) £14.95

A captivating blend of the three main grapes of Macabeo, Xarello and Parellada with no addition of sugar and aged on the lees for a full 39 months making this a ‘Brut Nature Reserva’. With soft persistent bubbles and broad complex flavours of roasted almonds and dried apricots – with a lifted citrus balance – this is a Cava to knock all its rivals into touch and raise the asparagus into the bright spring air.

Castell d’Encus Albariño 2011

(Catalan Pyrenees) £14.95

Catalan winemaker Raol Bobet has ventured into the cooler foothills of the Pyrenees where he has created wines with edge, character and authority. More noted for its origins in Northwest Spain, Albariño has taken on a more fruitful note in its new Catalan home with a combination of lime and peaches, yet set against a racy acidity that cuts through the crab butter with delightful ease.

Domaine Chardoisie Touraine Sauvignon 2011

(Loire Valley, France) £8.95

There is something reassuringly modest about this Sauvignon Blanc made in its spiritual home of the Loire Valley where Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé are surely the great ambassadors for this widely grown (and known) variety. Further down the river close to the city of Tours the wines are less famous yet more affordable – with this pretty creation being the perfect match for Susie’s spring dish. A gentle whiff of crushed blackcurrant leaves with a rounded yet reassuringly zesty palate.

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