A beautiful summer dish which one can conveniently stick in the oven an hour before dinner and so have time and space to do everything else. Also deals with the "two veg" syndrome - it's all right there, no bother.


To make:

  • Preheat the oven to 220C (do the conversion yourself, I'm shit at math).
  • Wash and scrub the spuds. Chop them into large-bite sized chunks - not too small or they'll go all mushy.
  • Peel the shallots and cut into quarters (don't leave them whole even if they're tiny - the flavours won't have a way of getting out). To be honest you can use plain ole onions, but shallots are nice and sweet and really add a lot to this recipe.
  • Stick the spuds & shallots in a big flat roasting pan, drizzle generously with olive oil, season and shake until everything is nicely coated and shiny. Into the oven with it for 35 gorgeous-smelling minutes, checking every 15 minutes or so that they're not burning, and giving the whole thing a bit of a mix to help the potatoes cook evenly.
  • Put the porcini in a cup or small bowl and pour some boiling water over them. Leave to steep, then strain the shrooms out, reserving the liquor.
  • Bring a pan of water to the boil. Add the porcini liquor to it. Wash and trim the asparagus, and drop it in the pan for about 2 minutes. Strain out and leave to cool.
  • When the 35 minutes are up, take the potatoes out and pierce a couple of them with a knife to make sure they're cooked - they have to be completely cooked and should feel like butter under the knife.
  • Chop the porcini finely and scatter over the top of the potatoes. Chop the asparagus into pieces about an inch long and do likewise with it. Season with some more freshly ground black pepper.
  • Stick back into the oven for about 15 minutes more. If you find (like I did last night) that your spuds are ready before your guests are, turn off the oven after the first cooking stage, open the door slightly and leave them in there. The keep admirably warm and no harm will come to them. Then 15 minutes or so before you're ready to serve, finish with the asparaus & shrooms.