When asparagus is in season, I think it’s so delicious that it deserves its own course. I hate to see asparagus sidelined to the edge of the plate. It has such a delicate but distinctive flavour. This salad is the perfect summer starter with a chilled glass of white wine. It’s so bright and colourful, it just draws you in. A nice fresh vivid salad is so much more enticing than a drab collection of limp leaves and droopy tomatoes. I recently bought some lovely fresh green and white asparagus spears and married them together for this dish.
I’m a huge fan of white asparagus as it has a lovely sweet flavour and I adore the texture. I chose lambs lettuce for my salad, as it’s so tender and has a slightly tangy taste to it. Apparently the name comes from the fact that the leaves are about the same size and shape as a lambs tongue! I blended a zesty lemon and honey dressing to coat the lamb’s lettuce and topped with some crisp pistachios and some crumbled blue Shropshire cheese. The flavours and colours in this salad are an absolute winner.
- 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon of honey
- 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4 green asparagus spears
- 4 white asparagus spears
- 1 good handful of lambs’ lettuce
- 15g of pistachio nuts
- 15g of Shropshire blue cheese (You could use other blue cheese like gorgonzola/ Cashel Blue)
For the dressing, I like to make mine in a clean jam jar. Mix the honey and lemon together with a spoon. Add the olive oil and salt and pepper. Seal the jam jar with a lid and shake vigorously. Remove lid and taste. Season more if necessary.
Wash and dry the lettuce. Place it in large bowl. Meanwhile, place the asparagus in a steamer and steam for about 5 -7 minutes. I find the white asparagus takes longer so I start steaming that first and then add the green asparagus for the last few minutes. As soon as the asparagus is just tender, place it in a bowl of iced water. This helps to preserve the colour and texture of the asparagus. Remove from the water after a few seconds and dry well with paper towels. Using a sharp knife, slice the asparagus lengthways into long ribbons.
As soon as you are ready to serve, shake the dressing up again to make sure it is fully emulsified. Dress the leaves with the dressing. Add the asparagus ribbons and gently mix in with the lettuce. Crumble the blue cheese on top and garnish with the pistachio nuts. Serve straight away.