As we get into asparagus season it’s great to have a few asparagus recipes up your sleeve to take advantage of its all to brief appearance. Officially the English asparagus season runs from St George’s Day, April 23rd until the Summer Solstice, June 21 – it depends on the weather as to whether the spears are ready for that April kick-off. At The Oyster & Fish House in Lyme Regis I often have an asparagus menu with three asparagus dishes on which change weekly throughout the short season. We should all celebrate seasonal British ingredients like this and make the most of it. So, fly the flag for our British growers, including several who are in Dorset, and avoid picking up a bunch of imported spears.

You can change the sauce ingredients for this dish, according to what you have growing in your veg plot or allotment, in your fridge or in your hedgerows. Ramsons, also known as wild garlic, is particularly good and around from April onwards.

Pre-Theatre Dining

I've been a patron of Lyme Regis’s Marine Theatre since 2018, and so I’m delighted to be collaborating with them on a pre-theatre dining offer, just for their guests. If you are heading to the theatre to see a show or screening, come here first for a 2-course (£19.50) or 3-course (£24.50) meal featuring local seasonal ingredients (we are always able to cater for any allergies). Book a table between 5pm and 6.30pm and we will have you there in plenty of time for curtain-up. Simply ask for the Theatre Menu at the time of booking.

Scrumpy Fried Asparagus recipe

Serves 4

120g Doves Farm gluten-free self-raising flour

200ml cold cider

bunch or two of medium asparagus (woody ends trimmed off)

vegetable oil for deep frying

salt and black pepper

For the mayonnaise:

few leaves of wild garlic or another herb, finely chopped

2-3tbs good-quality mayonnaise


Make the herb sauce: In a small bowl, whisk the herbs and mayonnaise together.

To make the batter: put the flour into a bowl and slowly whisk in the cider until you have a smooth consistency, then season.

Heat some vegetable oil to 160°–180°C in a deep-fat-fryer or heavy-based saucepan (no more than half full).

Test the oil by dropping in a little batter: if it lightly browns after 30 seconds or so it’s ready. Dip the asparagus spears into the batter. Then carefully put into the hot oil. Cook a few at a time for a minute or so until they are crisp and light golden.

Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and place on a plate with kitchen paper on it, lightly season with salt. Serve immediately.

To serve: put the asparagus on a large serving plate or individually with the sauce either in a bowl to hand around, or spoon some onto each plate.