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White asparagus, ham and Emmental sandwich

Serves 2

For years and years I've wondered why us Brits don't grow white asparagus – if they can grow it in Europe why the heck can't we? Well, last week my question was answered when a few bunches of white asparagus with a Wye Valley wrapper from the Chinn family in Herefordshire showed up.

6 spears of white asparagus
2 slices of white bread with crusts removed
2tsp caster sugar
2-3tbsp olive oil
2 slices of good-quality ham
2 slices of Emmental cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
A couple of good knobs of butter

Peel the asparagus about 1cm from the tip all the way down and remove any woody ends.

Bring a pan of salted water to the boil with the sugar, add the asparagus and simmer for about 8-10 minutes, depending on the size, until tender.

Remove from the water and leave to cool.

Lay the ham and cheese on each slice of bread, then put the asparagus on top at one end of each and roll up the slices.

Heat the butter in a non-stick pan and fry the sandwiches for 3-4 minutes, turning as they are cooking until golden; serve immediately.