It has been a while since I have written about a particular plant. Usually I am focused on finding and eating them, but with the new season well underway I though it best to spend a little time getting to know a very useful plant, the Hop.
Compared to Asparagus, Hop shoots are a delicate and desirable vegetable favoured greatly by most European nations. The tender green side shoots (leave the main stem to grow on until later in the season) can be picked from early spring, just before the first Asparagus.
So culinary uses, well treat the shoots like Asparagus. They should be cooked quickly to keep the flavour, colour and nutrients and genuinely don't need much done to them. Simply sautee with Butter (and a little garlic if you like) and serve as a side - perfect with a steak and a little Hollandaise sauce. Alternatively and again similar to Asparagus, Hop shoots have an affinity with Eggs so use them in omelette's. Additionally they make a great springtime risotto or even could be put through a very posh ham hock terrine.
The hop is a fantastic Wild Vegetable and the flowers are pretty useful too!
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