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Tom’s Asparagus, Spring Onions, Polenta & Tapenade

Tom Hunt

Asparagus icon

Serves: 4

Prep time: 20 mins

Cook time: 1 hr 15 mins


110g slow-cook polenta (or quick-cook polenta*)

1 tsp sea salt

75g (kalamata) olives, pitted

extra virgin olive oil

18 spears of asparagus, ends trimmed

12 spring onions, washed

Veg Portions / Serving: 1


Kitchen Ninja

Recipe from Eating for Pleasure, People & Planet by Tom Hunt. Photography by Jenny Zarins.


To make the slow-cook polenta, bring 1 litre of water to the boil in a heavy-based saucepan. Turn the heat down low, add the salt, then pour in the polenta in one continuous stream while whisking at the same time. To prevent lumps, keep stirring until the polenta has started to absorb the water and become creamy. When it reaches a runny, porridge-like consistency, cover the pan with a damp tea towel, being careful to keep the cloth away from the flame, and place a lid on top. Cook over a very low heat for 50–60 minutes, or until the polenta comes away from the sides of the pan. If it is a little too thick, whisk in some extra boiling water. Pour onto a wooden board to cool and set, then cut into wedges. *If you are using quick-cook polenta, follow the packet’s instructions. 

To make the tapenade, finely chop the olives and then pound them to a rough paste in a pestle and mortar. Add a little extra virgin olive oil, if necessary, to create a thick saucy consistency. 

To finish the dish, toss the asparagus and spring onions in olive oil and place on a hot barbecue or griddle with the polenta wedges for a few minutes until they begin to char, then turn and cook on the other side. Serve together, dressed with a teaspoon of tapenade. 

Kids in the kitchen:

Cooked polenta is soft, making it perfect for kids to slice with child-friendly or non-sharp knives – help them cut it into wedges. Kids can toss the veg in olive oil, and help use the pestle & mortar to make the tapenade.

Tom Hunt

Tom Hunt is an award-winning chef, food writer and food waste campaigner. His Bristol restaurant Poco attained the Sustainable Restaurant Association’s highest ever score of 96%.

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