Pickled and Charred Asparagus
- For the Asparagus, bring a medium saucepan water to the boil. Prepare an ice bath in a medium bowl.
- Shave 6 spears asparagus and blanch in the boiling water. Remove the asparagus and place into the iced water. Set aside then drain well to serve.
- Combine vinegar, sugar, lemon juice, salt and 50ml water in a small saucepan. Cut away the tops from 16 asparagus and place into the pickling liquid. Set aside until ready to serve. Drain well.
- Chop the 16 asparagus bases and remaining 12 whole spears into 4-5cm lengths. Drizzle with oil and season with salt. Place onto a wire cooling rack over an open flame and cook until charred but not burnt. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- For the Smoked Mussels, place the olive oil into a small saucepan over low heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft and golden. Add 100ml wine and bring to the boil.
- Add the mussels, cover with a lid and steam until they open then remove from the saucepan and place into a bowl. Add the remaining wine to the saucepan and simmer until liquid has reduced to 300ml. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool for the Mussel Emulsion.
- Remove mussels from the shells, place into a bowl and cover with cling film. Using a smoking gun, fill the bowl with smoke, reseal the cling film. Set aside to smoke for 10 minutes. Uncover the bowl and set aside.
- For the Mussel Emulsion, place ingredients, along with the onion and garlic, into the canister of a stick blender and process until combined. Season with salt, to taste.
- To serve, arrange asparagus elements over each plate. Top with Smoked Mussels and add some Mussel Emulsion. Serve with lemon cheeks.
Simon's grilled asparagus with smoked mussels is finished nicely with a silky Mussel Emulsion.