Asparagus season has landed in the UK, and this rather lovely salad is my new favourite ways to eat it, along with salmon and crushed new potatoes. Home made pesto is really easy to make, and makes all the difference, so I urge you to give it a whirl. Just looking at this pretty plate makes me happy, and we enjoyed eating it very much, followed by a nice middle aged evening of Rummikub. It’s a rock ‘n’ roll life! Serves 2. Recipe from the always fabulous Waitrose Food Magazine.
30g toasted pine nuts
1/2 clove garlic, minced
15g basil leaves
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Juice of half a lemon
2 big handfuls of rocket
250g ish Asparagus
- Make the pesto first, by putting half of the basil leaves into a mortar with half of the toasted pine nuts, the garlic, and some seasoning, and give it all a bash with the pestle until the leaves start to break down.
- Grate in half of the cheese, pour in the oil and lemon juice and bash some more to form a chunky pesto, adding in more oil and lemon if you need it. Test for seasoning, and set aside.
- Load up your plates or serving dish with the rocket.
- Bend each spear of asparagus in turn so the woody end snaps off, then use a vegetable peeler to shave off strips from the non-pointy end, until you can shave off no more and are left holding the tip. Move onto the next spear and put the shaved strips onto the rocket.
- Boil a small pan of water and drop in the tips of the spears, boil for a minute or so, then drain and add to the salad.
- Dollop on the pesto, rip over the rest of the basil, grate over the rest of the cheese, sprinkle over the rest of the pine nuts, and serve.
In case you’re interested, I make the crushed new potatoes by boiling them in salted water for about 10 minutes until they’re just starting to soften, then I drain them, squash them a little with a potato masher, tip them into a roasting tin with a little olive oil, toss them with a big pinch of salt and roast in a hot oven (220C fan) for a good 20 minutes. Yums.