Sunday, 22 May 2011

The salad days of asparagus.

So, we didn't get a downpour. No deluge. Just a bit of drizzle and some damp air to make me blog in anticipation, then...nothing. We've had clear weather ever since.
Which is good, because it meant I was able to discover a new combination of ingredients, all brought together into the most delicious lazy Sunday salad for a late dinner after a day of building belated raised beds, and watching the final action from the football season.
May in England means it's finally asparagus season, and when the local stuff arrived, from a mere five miles away, I was very smug indeed to get my hands on a bunch. I proudly carried it home, in my hands, not daring to put in my handbag, and placed it in the fridge, where it awaited the perfect recipe.
Tomorrow I am going to make The Tart with it. But tonight I wanted something simpler, and frankly, heathier. And so I bring you this simple salad with a new-found favourite dressing. It all came together in about fifteen minutes, and was eaten in less!

Simple greens salad.

For the salad:

Enough pasta for two people (with perhaps an added handful for posterity)
two small leeks, trimmed, washed and sliced thinly
three large asparagus spears, bottoms trimmed
handful of runner beans, topped and tailed and sliced thinly
knob of butter

For the dressing:

three teaspoons of capers
handful of mint leaves
handful of coriander leaves
juice of half a lemon
a tablespoon of grated Parmesan
three tablespoons of half fat creme fraiche

Place the pasta in a large saucepan of water. Place a sieve over the top with the asparagus and runners beans in it. Cover with a lid and bring to the boil. Leave until pasta is done. I like mine al dente so it was boiling for aprox. 9 mins. Remove from the heat. Set the greens aside and drain the pasta, leaving it to cool.

While the pasta cools place another pan on the heat, turning it down to low and place the butter, leeks and greens in the pan and cover, allowing to cook slightly in their own steam. This will poach the leeks and finish off the cooking of the greens.

Meanwhile through the salad ingredients in a food processor (or pestle and mortar) and whoosh until combined.

When the leeks are softened and the greens almost tender but holding some crunch (they should retain their bright green colour), pour the whole lot into a large bowl. Add the cooled pasta and toss, finally add the dressing. Toss again, and eat, adding more lemon juice to taste.

p.s. sorry about the pour light in the photos, the day was fading fast as I took them, and the natural light with it!

1 comment:

  1. I love asparagus. This is a mouth watering presentation :-)