Serves: Serves 2 (or 4 as a light meal)
Despite the miserable spring weather the British asparagus season has begun and thank goodness is all I can say. I love winter roots but have been longing for a taste of spring. For a few weeks we can gorge on the precious green spears without feeling guilty that they might have a left a dirty great carbon footprint en route to the dining table. The young asparagus needs little cooking and is zinging with freshness. At this stage in the season I like to boil or steam them until just tender but later on, when the spears become tougher they are sprinkled with olive oil and roasted until soft and crispy. It is a fairly good rule of thumb to prepare asparagus by snapping the spears; in general they will snap at the point at which the bases become tough and therefore stringy. If you want to get every last pennies’ worth you could make some soup with the leftover stalks but you may need to pass the soup through a sieve if the asparagus is very stringy.
- For the dressing
- 2 tablespoons sweet white miso paste
- 2 tablespoons mirin
- ½ tablespoon soy sauce
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1 tablespoon light olive oil
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- For the salad
- 500g asparagus, trimmed
- 100g button mushrooms, finely sliced
- 250g cooked chicken, sliced
- 30g shelled pistachios, lightly toasted and roughly chopped
- A handful of salad leaves e.g. rocket, watercress and spinach
- For the dressing, place all the ingredients in a jar with a lid and shake well until the dressing has amalgamated.
- Boil the asparagus in lightly salted boiling water for 3-4 minutes depending on the thickness of the spears. Drain and refresh in cold water to retain the colour. Cut each spear into 2 or 3 pieces and place in a salad bowl. Add the mushrooms and pour over half the dressing. Leave to marinate for about 30 minutes to allow the mushrooms to soak up the dressing.
- Just before serving add the chicken, pistachios and salad leaves and pour over remaining dressing. Toss well and serve immediately.