With the asparagus season just under way it hasn't quite come to the point of wondering what to do with it but give me another week or so of spears dipped in butter and I'll be looking to ring the changes.
Cheese is a well-established partner - the obvious combination being asparagus and goats' cheese - but the other day I came across an asparagus fondue, a clever idea at Mark Hix's new restaurant in Selfridges.
It wasn't a conventional fondue but apparently a cheese-based sauce with some steamed (I would guess) asparagus shavings and trimmings blitzed up in it, giving it the exotic green colour you see in the rather blurry photo). For me it wasn't quite cheesy enough and a little bit floury but there's the nub of an idea there that's well worth exploring. Or maybe just dunking lightly cooked asparagus spears in a conventional fondue would work just as well.
If you don't have a fondue set I reckon you could also make a light cheese sauce - I fancy using some cream in this - flavoured with Gruyère and Parmesan which gives you an intense cheese flavour without being too heavy and pour it over the spears, sprinkle them with a little more cheese and flash them under the grill.
In fact I may very well have to go off and buy some asparagus right now to do just that . . .
PS I suddenly remembered that Mark often posts his new dishes in his column in the Independent - and indeed here it is. Not the green version though. And I think I'd still use Gruyère and Parmesan rather than Cheddar much as I like British cheeses.