Hop shoots are the new asparagus.

Hop shoots are the green tips of the hop plant,which are harvested from the parts of the plant that won´t go on to produce the flowers (hop cones) that brewers use in creating beer.They are notoriously the world`s most expensive vegetable.

"Seems an awful waste, seems a downright shame..."
"I mean, with the price of hops being
What it is,
When you get it,
If you get it.."

Hop shoots are notoriously expensive, selling on the international market at roughly £730/€1000 per kilogram, due to the difficulty of cultivating the shoots and the brief time period they can be harvested in, as well as the fact they must be hand-picked. They cost this much because they are exasperatingly back-breaking to harvest. So when Nigella posted on her instagram this recipe for Homemade crumpets with brown shrimps and buttery hop shoots; it left me speechless.
We are in the middle of a price of food crisis? are we not? Nevertheless it grabbed my attention.
I thought there must be a cheaper alternative?and as it turned a great substitute for hop shoots is basil flowers or asparagus tops. Hop shoots can be foraged, if you can find them but equally sustainable, so can wild asparagus.

They don´t grow in a uniform row so each one you pick requires you to hunch over and really hunt around.Plus they are tiny so you need to pick hundreds to fill a carrier bag. Despite being referred to as "hop asparagus" this vegetable is texturally closer to samphire than green asparagus spears.
It probably doesn´t deserve the status implied from being known as the world´s most expensive vegetable,but its interesting enough.You can definitely understand why adventurous chefs would want to cook with it.Its like eating a hedgerow apparently, so hop shoots......How much would you pay?

The recipe from Photographer Stuart Ovenden´s book The flowerpot forager 
was originally posted on instagram as recipe of the week by foodim

Homemade crumpets with brown shrimps 
and buttery hop shoots (or asparagus tips)

225 g (8 oz) strong white bread flour
1⁄2 teaspoon caster (superfine) sugar
300 ml (10 fl oz) warm whole milk
2 teaspoons fast-action yeast
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon fine salt
50 ml (13⁄4 fl oz) warm water

generous knob of butter, plus extra for brushing
100 g (31⁄2 oz) brown shrimps
1 small garlic clove, finely grated
pinch of mace
handful of asparagus tops 
juice of 1⁄2 lemon
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Tip the flour into a large mixing bowl. Dissolve the sugar in the warm milk, then add the yeast. Set aside for 10 minutes, then mix into the flour with a wooden spoon. Beat the mixture for 3–4 minutes until you have a smooth batter. Cover the bowl with cling film (plastic wrap) and leave in a warm place for about an hour.
Stir the baking powder and salt into the warm water. Mix it into the batter. Cover loosely with a tea towel (dish towel) and leave in a warm place for a further 15 minutes.
Set a flat griddle or heavy-based frying pan on a low heat, then brush with melted butter. Grease the insides of two non-stick crumpet rings, then sit them on the pan. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the batter into each ring, then cook for 8–10 minutes until the crumpets have risen, the tops look set and bubbles have popped on the surface. Flip the crumpets over carefully with a spatula, cook for a further minute, then remove from the heat. Repeat the process with the remaining mixture then allow the crumpets to cool completely.
Toast the crumpets under a hot grill while you prepare the topping. Heat the butter, shrimp, garlic and mace in a pan for a few minutes on a medium heat until the butter starts to bubble, then stir in the hop shoots. Cook for a further 2–3 minutes until the shoots have softened, then remove from the heat. Add the lemon juice, season, then spoon over the crumpets.
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