During the British asparagus season from late April to June, I enjoy eating the spears raw as their sweet crunch and aroma is so appealing especially when they’re fresh from the farm. Add to that some shavings of fennel and you have the makings of a delicious spring salad.
Who wants a boring tasteless salad? They have to deliver on flavour as much as nutrition for me. So I like to make a dressing that imparts a much-needed zing without overpowering the greens and veggies used.
And the clementine-olive-oil dressing does exactly that in this salad. I am not a fan of vinegary dressings so this does the job nicely for me. The lovely fennel and asparagus crunch is well complemented by the tang of the citrus and spike of black pepper. And if that’s still not enough for your tastebuds, toss in some toasted pine nuts or even peanuts and you’ll soon be reaching for another forkful. Try it!
Purple Asparagus And Fennel SaladCourse: SnackCuisine: European, BritishDifficulty: Easy
1 medium fennel bulb, thinly sliced or shaved
200g or 1/2 a large bunch of purple or green asparagus, sliced lengthways
15g fresh rocket
7-8 cherry tomatoes (sliced)
3 tbsp toasted pine nuts
- For the dressing:
2 tbsp hand-squeezed clementine juice
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp black pepper crushed
Sea salt to taste
- Place the cherry tomatoes, cut side up on a greaseproof paper-lined baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil and bake in a preheated oven at 160C for 40-50 minutes until semi-dried and caramelised.
- Combine the slit asparagus, rocket and fennel shavings in a large bowl.
- Whisk the clementine juice, olive oil, crushed black pepper, salt together in a small bowl and pour over the asparagus, rocket and fennel mixture. Toss gently to coat.
- Throw in the oven-roasted tomatoes followed by the toasted pine nuts and enjoy!
- Use a peeler to shave off a thin slither of fennel. You can even shave the asparagus as opposed to slicing it.
- This is a vegan recipe but if you eat cheese a few shavings of parmesan go rather well.
- And if you want something a bit meaty, roast or fry 3-4 slices of prosciutto until crisp. Remove any excess fat on a paper towel, break into pieces and toss into the salad.
- I have shared a few other recipes with more details about British asparagus here and here.