Celebration Spring Salad
Even though it hasn't felt like it so far it's definitely spring and here's a recipe from Jenny Chandler's lovely new book A Good Appetite to celebrate.
Jenny writes: "In late spring the greengrocers' shelves are loaded with local goodies: bunches of radishes and asparagus, paper sacks of new potatoes and even the early pods of peas and broad beans. It’s time to celebrate the first produce of the year. Serving this salad while the potatoes are still warm intensifies the flavours."
Serves 4 as a main course salad
600g (1lb 5oz) new potatoes, halved if larger than bite-sized
1 sprig of mint
100ml (31/2 fl oz) extra virgin olive oil
300g (101/2 oz) asparagus spears
200g (7oz) baby broad beans
75g (2 3/4 oz) pea shoots, washed
12 radishes, quartered (soaking the radishes in ice- cold water for 20 minutes before chopping will give crisp results)
Juice of 1 lemon
3 tbsp crème fraîche or soured cream (oat-based crème fraîche is a dairy- free option)
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 small bunch of chives, finely chopped with scissors
Pinch of salt and plenty of pepper
A few crispy bacon lardons, or some cooked chicken, or flakes of cooked salmon (150g/5oz portion of fillet), or halved soft-boiled eggs, or a handful of roasted almonds
Boil the potatoes and mint in a large saucepan of salted water for 15 minutes, or until tender, then drain and return to the pan, discarding the mint sprig. Toss with half of the olive oil, then cover with the lid and set aside to keep warm.
Meanwhile, prepare the asparagus. Remove any woody tips (save those for stock), chop off about 5cm (2 inches) of the stalk ready for steaming or boiling, and sliver the top of the spears into ribbons using a potato peeler. Set aside.
If you have a steamer pan, steam the asparagus stalks over the potatoes for 5 minutes, or until tender; otherwise, cook them in a saucepan of boiling water for about 3 minutes. Drain and plunge into a large bowl of cold water to refresh and keep their colour.
Steam or blanch the broad beans for 3-5 minutes until just tender then drain and pop them from their skins.
Mix all the dressing ingredients together in a bowl along with the remaining olive oil. Pour the dressing into a large salad bowl, add most of the pea shoots, the radishes, cooked asparagus, asparagus ribbons, broad beans and warm potatoes (keeping a few of each ingredient back to garnish the bowl), then turn everything together, taking care not to break up the potatoes. Sprinkle over the reserved vegetables and any of the optional toppings and serve while warm.
What to drink: I'd go for a fresh crisp fruity white with this. Sauvignon blanc is the obvious option for spring but an English Bacchus or Bacchus-based white would be good too as would a dry riesling or even a rosé
Extracted from A Good Appetite by Jenny Chandler, published by the National Trust at £20. Photography by Kirstie Young.
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