Thomasina Miers’ recipe for roast hake and asparagus with grilled spring-onion butter

Butter is so reassuringly delicious, so simply luxuriant, so easily able to transport any ingredient into something infinitely better that it is a wonder that there isn’t a national shortage in these uneasy times. Stack it up in the freezer and get creative with ways you can doctor yours – or just get out a pack and slather it all over hot toast. Either way, things will look up.

Roast hake and asparagus with grilled spring onion butter

The smokiness from the charred onions and chipotle is tempered by the butter and lightened by the coriander and lime: a pleasing companion for hake’s sweet flavour.

Prep 10 min
Cook 50 min
Serves 4-6

500g asparagus
500g piece hake (or 4

For the butter
1 bunch spring onions, trimmed
3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
250g salted butter
, softened
1 large bunch coriander (about 60g)
½ tsp Mexican oregano (optional)
1 tbsp chipotle en adobo
Zest and juice of 1 lime
Salt and black pepper

First make the butter. Put a griddle pan on a high heat, then lay in the spring onions and garlic cloves still in their skins, and grill, turning often, for seven to nine minutes, until the onions are charred all over and the garlic is soft.

Blitz the butter in a food processor until it’s light and fluffy. Wash the coriander and roughly chop the entire bunch, stalks and all. Roughly chop the grilled onions and slip the garlic flesh out of its skins. Add the lot to the butter, then add the oregano (if using), chipotle en adobo and the lime zest and juice, and blitz again, until smooth. Season generously with salt, taste and adjust by adding more chipotle or salt, if need be.

Heat the oven to 220C (200C fan)/425F/gas 7. Snap off the woody ends of the asparagus (freeze them and use to make a veggie stock some other time) and lay the spears out on a foil-lined baking tray. Season, then scoop two to three tablespoons of the butter on top. Roast for 10 minutes, then top with the fish, spread a 6-7mm layer of butter over the fish and season. Roast for about 15 minutes, until the fish is just cooked through and flakes easily and the asparagus spears are tender.

Serve with roast baby potatoes to dip into the herby, spiced butter, and lime wedges on the side.

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