Asparagus is an amazingly versatile vegetable that can be roasted, steamed, grilled, stir-fried or even eaten raw – which I have suggested today. This well-loved ingredient has people the world over anxiously awaiting the new season’s crop. Truly fresh asparagus doesn’t stay fresh for very long. Some people suggest you stand it in water in the fridge while others say wrap the stems in wet paper towels. But the best thing to do is to eat it soon after buying. Signs of freshness include smooth, glossy spears, tightly-closed tips and bottom ends that look freshly cut. The main thing is no matter the size or the cooking method, make sure the spears are not overcooked. Keep them bright green and firm. Enjoy!
PREP TIME: 15 MINS
COOK TIME: 10 MINS
SERVES: 4 PEOPLE
20 asparagus spears
15 slices prosciutto
200g feta, crumbled or chopped roughly
2 courgettes, sliced into half-centimetre rounds
4 radishes, cut into matchsticks
6 yellow tomatoes, quartered
2-3 good handfuls rocket (or other spring leaves)
700g new baby potatoes
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 tablespoon chopped chives
1 tablespoon chopped mint
3 tablespoons butter
75ml olive oil
25g basil leaves
1 clove garlic, crushed
Salt and pepper to taste
- Pop basil in a bowl and pour over boiling water. Drain immediately and run under cold water to prevent it cooking further.
- Put into blender with oil, garlic and salt and pepper, and blend until smooth. Put in fridge until ready to use.
- Next, chop the woody end off the asparagus. Cut the tips off and boil them for 30 seconds – then run under cold water. Then, using a peeler, shave the stalks off the asparagus, starting at the top and peeling towards the base. Now you can either just squeeze a little lemon juice over and set aside or blanch for literally 3-4 secs in boiling water and place on ice. I prefer them raw and a little crunchy.
- Heat a griddle pan to a high heat and spray with oil. In batches, cook your courgette for about 1 min each side until a little charred. Set aside.
- Bring a large pot of water to the boil and cook your washed (not peeled) potatoes until still a little firm, probably about 10-15 mins depending on size. Drain, and pop back in pot with butter. Once it has melted, add herbs and thoroughly combine.
- Take a large bowl and mix all the salad ingredients except the prosciutto. Place on a large serving platter then disperse the prosciutto evenly. Drizzle with basil oil and serve with warm potatoes.