Place 4 tbsp flour in a shallow dish. In a second dish, beat 3 eggs together with a splash of milk. In a third shallow dish, combine 150g breadcrumbs, ½ tsp cayenne pepper and some salt and black pepper. Snap the woody ends from 450g asparagus and rinse. One at a time, coat the asparagus spears in flour, then dip them in the beaten egg and finally dredge in the breadcrumbs, pressing them on to coat. Place the coated asparagus on a baking tray until ready to fry. Line a plate with kitchen paper and pour vegetable oil into a casserole dish to a depth of 3cm. Heat oil to 180˚C, or until a breadcrumb dropped into the oil sizzles. Working in batches to avoid crowding, fry the asparagus for 1-2 minutes until golden brown. Drain on the kitchen paper-lined plate, then serve hot with your favourite dipping sauce.
Braised asparagus with tomato and Feta
Preheat the oven to 230˚C/210˚C fan/gas mark 8. Snap the woody ends from 450g asparagus, then place in a baking dish and pour over 250ml hot chicken stock. Scatter over 200g halved cherry tomatoes and 60g crumbled feta (or you could use goat’s cheese). Bake for 10 minutes.
Steak and eggs over asparagus
Brush 2 steaks on both sides with a thin coating of olive oil and season on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat a griddle pan over a medium-high heat. Cook the steaks to your liking, then remove to a plate, test loosely with foil and keep warm. Snap the woody ends from 450g asparagus, brush with oil and cook on the griddle pan for 2-3 minutes until just tender. Season with salt and pepper. Remove to a plate and keep warm.
Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a pan over a medium heat and fry 2 eggs to your liking. Season with salt and pepper. Divide the asparagus between two plates, add the steaks and top each portion with a fried egg.
Barbecued asparagus in tin foil
Preheat a barbecue to a medium-high heat (or preheat the oven to 220˚C/200˚C fan/gas mark 7). Coat 4 large squares of tin foil with cooking spray. Snap the woody ends from 450g asparagus and divide evenly amongst the squares of foil. Sprinkle with 1 tsp Italian seasoning and some salt and pepper. Add 10g butter and a squeeze of lemon juice to in each portion. Fold the foil over the asparagus, sealing completely on all sides. Cook on the barbecue or in the oven for 15 minutes.
Open the foil packets carefully, then gently stir to make sure all the asparagus is coated with the butter and seasonings. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve warm.
Roasted garlic and Parmesan asparagus
Preheat the oven to 220˚C/200˚C fan/gas mark 7. Line a rimmed baking tray with tin foil and set aside. Snap the woody ends from 450g asparagus and rinse. Spread out in a thin layer on top of the prepared baking tray. Spray the asparagus with olive oil cooking spray and sprinkle with 5 crushed garlic cloves, 60g grated Parmesan and some salt and pepper. Use your hands to coat the asparagus evenly with all of the ingredients, then spread out into an even layer again. Spray lightly with another coat of olive oil. Bake for 7-8 minutes, then serve immediately.