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Chef's Summer Special - Dave Wall from The Unruly Pig

With summer on the way, thoughts turn to delicious fresh produce grown and made on The Suffolk Coast. We spoke to Dave Wall, Head Chef at multi award winning The Unruly Pig and EAT Suffolk’s Best Restaurant 2018 to find out his favourite Summer Special.

What local produce do you love working with?

Asparagus

Spring has officially sprung! It’s a time of year when I get most excited about the produce that is going to land in The Unruly Pig kitchen. Nature has this knack of producing an abundance of ingredients that marry together in perfect harmony.

Come Sunday, the first of the new season’s lamb (stuffed with rosemary and anchovy) will be roasting on top of Boulangère potatoes. Jersey Royals have arrived to add their unique earthy flavour to our plates and are perfectly paired with morel mushrooms and the most tender, sweet, early fresh peas. Wonderful spring greens can now be lightly wokked with a little olive oil and garlic. The crisp texture of hispi cabbage brings a welcome freshness to our dishes after a long winter of stewed root vegetables.

But spring for me is most synonymous with one of the most iconic of British ingredients, asparagus and for my money East Anglia produces some of the best asparagus in the world.

What are your top tips for cooking asparagus?

The fresher the better. Try to buy your asparagus from local grocers who are more likely to have freshly picked spears than a supermarket who will have probably couriered it halfway across the country (or worse, further). Use your asparagus as soon as you can but if needs storing, wrap the bunch in a wet cloth in the fridge. 

There are so many ways to cook asparagus. Asparagus responds well to being boiled, steamed, roasted, grilled or even just being served raw- simply peeled (with a potato peeler) and dressed with some good olive oil and lemon juice lends a special touch to a salad. 

Probably my favoured method of cooking asparagus is to lightly boil it, really briefly, so that it has a lovely crisp texture. One of my former bosses, who was a fantastic restaurateur, used to insist on it being very well cooked as he was certain that this method was the best way to bring the flavour out of asparagus but personally I couldn’t disagree more! Of course, I used to happily comply with his wish but now that I can do it my way, I advise cooking it for 1- 2 minutes (maximum) plunged into salted boiling water so that it retains a good bite. Serve straight away with butter and shavings of Parmesan cheese.  

Another great method is grilling. Over a high heat, brush just a little oil on a griddle, add the asparagus, turning occasionally to be sure to get an even char on the stems. Remove the spears after 3- 4 minutes and drizzle some olive oil over the spears, add sea salt and a squeeze of lemon and you are done!

Roasting asparagus is also very easy. Pre heat your oven to 180 degrees(fan) or gas mark 6. Line a baking tray with baking parchment. Add the spears with some olive oil or whatever takes your fancy add some sliced garlic and seasoning and then roast for 8- 9 minutes. 

Whichever way you cook your asparagus another tip is simply dip them into boiled eggs - the rich yoke of a duck egg would be perfect! However, my very favourite way of serving asparagus is with hollandaise - a true marriage made in heaven. Now don’t be put off if making hollandaise is not your thing because I have a near fool proof way of making this sumptuous sauce. Melt 125 gms of unsalted butter in a saucepan. Whizz two egg yolks, the juice of half a lemon and a pinch of sea salt in a blender. On a slow speed then slowly drizzle in the melted butter to the blender and bingo. 

Crab is a perfect partner to asparagus and this month’s recipe will make a wonderful lunch or dinner party dish. It’s another marriage made in heaven, so please enjoy !

Crab & Asparagus Tart Recipe

Crab and Asparagus Tart

For 8 individual tartlets or an 8” larger tart you will need:

250g shortcrust pastry 

250g brown crab meat

3 egg yolks

120ml whipping cream 

A good pinch of sea salt

A pinch of paprika

250g picked white crab meat

1 batch of hollandaise sauce (as above)

A rind of parmesan to grate on top

2-3 spears of asparagus per person (cooked by your preferred method from the above)

Roll out the pastry to the thickness of a £1 coin and gently lay over the tart mould. Coax the sides into the mould corners. Trim the excess pastry leaving a slight overhang. Chill the pastry for 45 minutes. Line the pastry with foil and baking beads this is known as blind baking). In pre heated oven (180°) cook the tart for 20-25 minutes until the edges begin to brown. Remove the foil and return to the oven for a further 5 minutes, turning the temperature down to 110 degrees..

Blend the brown crab, whipping cream, egg yolks, salt and paprika in a food processor and then pass through a fine sieve into your tart. Bake the tart for around 25-30 minutes until the custard has set with a gentle wobble. Mix the white crab meat with the hollandaise, top the tart and then finely grate parmesan to cover. Gratinate under a grill and then serve and warm with your asparagus. Perfect with a glass of Vermentino or Pecorino (both Italian numbers that are great with shellfish).

Book a table at The Unruly Pig this summer at https://theunrulypig.co.uk/



WHERE TO EAT

The Unruly Pig 

The Unruly Pig



The Unruly Pig is a multi award winning 16th century Suffolk inn offering award winning food, fab service with a relaxed vibe. 

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Free wifi Dog friendly Wheelchair Accessible