Showcasing one of nature’s best at this time of year and also a personal favourite of mine: tender, crisp, green British asparagus.
This salad was designed with spring in mind; tender, chargrilled asparagus coupled with creamy goat’s cheese and salty parma ham – pure flavour bliss! When spring arrives and summer beckons I am all about the salad. I’m not just talking about a few leaves and token cucumber and tomatoes here, I’m talking about the kinda salad that set your tastebuds alight with bursting, zingy, mingling flavours. The sort of salad that makes you feel like you are eating actual spring on a plate in all its wholesome goodness, if you know what I mean?!
When I am eating asparagus and all things fresh and green I feel a bit like I am eating a bit of the earth. Just the whole, crunchy freshness of it. Which is a very good thing, because right now, after a very indulgent yet satisfying chocolate-fest Easter weekend, I feel like I am now craving a week’s worth of salad!
The great thing about a salad is that you can knock it up in about 5 minutes flat using just about anything you have lying around in the fridge. As long as you have a few basics (e.g. any green leafy thing) you can start from there and keep on adding. Spinach leaves, avocado, feta cheese, sundried tomatoes, pine nuts, quinoa, fresh lemon, parsley, roast leftover vegetables, red onion…you name it, you can throw it in. Just try it!
Here are a few of my favourite combos:
- grilled chicken, quinoa, spinach leaves, red onion, mint, mixed seeds
- puy lentils, halloumi and roast butternut squash
- chargrilled aubergine, feta cheese, pomegranate seeds and mint
- baked mozzarella, tomato and basil
- rocket, parma ham, red onion, toasted pinenuts, chargrilled red onion
- lamb, cous-cous, honey, pistachio nuts, coriander
- pear, gorgonzola, walnuts and rocket leaves
- warmed figs, honey, prosciutto, mozzarella
- mushrooms, rosemary, olive oil and parmesan
Now the chocolate binge is over, let’s embrace the season of the salad! Salad definitely does not equal boring, as I hope the flavour combos have shown. You can also bulk them up a bit by adding some warm, crusty ciabatta, toasted flat breads, or combine with some other yummy nibblets like fat green olives or stuffed cherry tomatoes. The possibilities are endless!
- 250g asparagus tips
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 eggs
- 2 large handfuls of rocket leaves
- 1 avocado
- 15g pumpkin seeds
- 50g goat's cheese, crumbled
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 6 slices parma ham
- Place the eggs in a pan of cold water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 7 minutes.
- Meanwhile, toss the asparagus in 1 tbsp of the olive oil. Pan fry, for about 5 minutes until tender and charred.
- Place the rocket between two serving plates. Cut the avocado in half, remove the stone and cut into cubes, removing the skin. Scatter over the rocket.
- Now arrange the pumpkin seeds and crumbled goat's cheese on the rocket.
- Once the eggs are cooked, run under cold water until cool. Peel them and cut into quarters. Arrange the egg quarters and pan fried asparagus over the salad. Top with the parma ham.
- Mix the last tbsp of olive oil together with the lemon juice and season. Pour evenly over each salad before serving.