1. Snap the asparagus stalk so that you are left with the freshest tips only.
2. Boil the spears in a pan of salted boiling water for 3 minutes, then drain and plunge straight into a bowl of ice-cold water to lock in their lovely colour.
3. Put a non-stick griddle pan on a high heat and wait for it to get nice and hot.
4. Place the spears on the griddle without overcrowding – you may need to do this in batches – and reduce the heat to medium. Leave for a minute or so without turning so that they take on the charred colour, then cook for a further 3 minutes, turning every so often until a knife can be inserted easily.
5. While the asparagus is cooking, make the crumb. Put a frying pan on a medium high heat, add a generous amount of olive oil and heat through before adding the breadcrumbs and finely chopped anchovy. Cook until golden brown and crunchy – about 5 minutes.
6. Then stir through the lemon zest.
7. To serve, stack the asparagus at the centre of the plate, dollop the stracciatella in the centre and strew the crumb on top. Garnish with basil and any edible flowers from the garden.
Asparagus & Stracciatella with an Anchovy Crumb
Serves 4 for lunch
600g medium asparagus spears (about 2 bunches)
4 small anchovies from a jar
1 tub stracciatella (not to be confused with the ice cream)
1 lemon, zested
70g fresh breadcrumbs
Basil leaves to garnish
Notes: You can find stracciatella in specialist Italian delis but if you don’t have time, burrata will be fine. You can make your own breadcrumbs by whizzing up any old bread which needs using up.