To prepare the asparagus spears: Cut the asparagus at its natural breaking point, about 1 inch from the base. Peel the asparagus from the top down to the base. Set aside.
The trimmings of the asparagus can be kept to make a delicious veloute or light cream sauce. Simply sweat the trimmings in butter with a thinly sliced shallot. Add a sprig of thyme and a splash of white wine. Add some chicken stock and reduce by half before finishing with double cream and reducing the sauce to desired consistency.
Bring a pot of water to the boil, adding a generous tablespoon of salt to the water. Blanch the asparagus in the boiling, salted water for three minutes the remove and plunge into ice-cold water. Remove from the water and dry on a cloth before setting aside. You can now portion up the asparagus. I usually quarter each spear, giving three/four pieces per portion.
To prepare the shaved raw asparagus: Peel the asparagus and thinly slice using a mandolin (working from the base to the tip). If you don’t have a mandolin use a peeler to carefully peel thin strips from the asparagus. Place the strips into a bowl of iced water. Set aside.
To prepare the vinaigrette: Place a tablespoon of wholegrain mustard into a bowl and add the vinegar. Whisk together then slowly whisk in the oil to create an emulsified dressing. Add salt and cracked black pepper. If the dressing is too thick, add a splash of water.
To prepare the hazelnut dressing: Place the hazelnuts on a baking tray and roast in the oven at 180 degrees/gas 4 for 6-8 minutes until golden brown. Remove and roughly chop with a knife. Add the rest of the ingredients and set aside.
For the truffle mayonnaise: Place the yolks, vinegar and Dijon mustard in a bowl. Add a sprinkle of salt. Whisk the ingredients together then slowly start adding the sunflower oil, whisking continuously until the mixture thickens into a mayonnaise. Add the truffle oil to taste making sure not to overdo it as too much can be overpowering. Check the seasoning, adding more salt/vinegar if necessary. Store in the fridge until needed.
To cook the cod: Place a non-stick pan on the stove and heat until it starts to smoke. Season the cod with salt and cracked black pepper. Add the oil to the pan, then carefully add the fish (the side where the skin was should hit the pan first). Do not move the fish when it hits the pan, simply allow it to colour for 3-4 min on one side. Remove from the heat and add the butter. If the cod is quite thick you can place the pan in the oven for one or two minutes (180 degrees) to allow the heat to penetrate to the center of the cod. Baste the fish with the butter and then simply let it sit, off the heat for two minutes.
To assemble: Warm the asparagus spears in a pan with a small knob of butter and a pinch of sea salt. Add the wild garlic leaves and allow to wilt. Finish with a squeeze of lemon juice and the vinaigrette. Remove from the heat and place on the plate. Place the shaved asparagus into a bowl and dress with lemon juice, a squeeze of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Finish with a tablespoon of chopped chives. Dress the plate with the raw asparagus. Add a squeeze of truffle mayo and the hazelnuts. Finish with the fish.
Domini Kemp returns next week