Asparagus and Broad Beans in a Cashew Nut Sauce
The winter of 20/21 seems to have been the longest EVER and the spring has been so cold! Now, with the easing of lockdown, there is a sense of relief and, as ever, the relentless passing of the seasons heralds this renewal. The new spring veggies are particularly welcome at this time and the vibrant flavours truly remind one of new beginnings.
The origins of using cashew nuts in a sauce is largely Asian (as in korma) but many cultures use nuts as a creamy non-dairy base with or without other flavourings – think pesto, muhamara, tarator etc. I have not used stronger flavours here – it is all about the veg after all!
Asparagus and Broad Beans with a Cashew Nut Sauce
1 bunch asparagus
1kg broad beans
1 Tablespoon finely chopped spring onions
100g cashew nuts
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
A few chilli flakes
Olive oil for drizzling
Soak the cashew nuts in boiling water for 2 hours to soften them.
Put them in the container of a hand blender with the 100ml water and blend until smooth. Add the olive oil and lemon juice and blend again. Add salt to taste.
Shell the broad beans; there should be about 200g. Bring a small quantity of water to boil, there should be just enough to cover the beans. When the water is boiling, add the beans, cover and bring back to the boil. Simmer for 1 minute and then drain. Plunge the beans into a bowl of cold water to stop them cooking and leave for 2 minutes then drain and set aside.
Cut the woody stalks from the asparagus and rinse under the tap. Place in a glass dish with a lid and microwave for 2 minutes. It is possible to steam them if you prefer, but it is hard to get the stalks cooked without ruining the tips. Leave to rest for 5 minutes.
When you are ready to serve, place a table spoon of the sauce on each of 2 or 3 plates and sprinkle some of the spring onions on it. Arrange the asparagus on top followed by the broad beans. Top with the remaining spring onions and chilli flakes if using and drizzle with olive oil. Serve immediately.