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Asparagus with Melted Butter

365 calories per serving

ingredients

serves 4
1 kg (2 lb) asparagus
4.5 litres (8 pints) water
salt
1 sugar cube
2 tablespoons lemon juice
100 g (4 oz) butter

method

1. Using a sharp knife, or a special asparagus knife, peel the asparagus evenly from top to bottom, removing the tough skin in threads. Cut off the woody ends. (Keep these trimmings and boil them to make a stock for a soup or sauce.)

2. Rinse the peeled asparagus in cold water and tie into 4 bundles with cooking twine. This makes it easier to lift the cooked asparagus from the pan.

3. Bring the water to the boil with a generous sprinkling of the salt, sugar and lemon juice. Add the asparagus and boil for 25-35 minutes.

4. Melt the butter, bring it hot to the table and keep hot over a spirit lamp.

5. Lift the asparagus out of the pan, drain on a tea-towel folded in half, then arrange the asparagus on a hot plate.

6. Remove the twine. Each guest sprinkles her or his own portion of asparagus with butter.

Serve with: thin slices of boiled or smoked (Parma) ham and parsley potatoes or small pancakes.

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