We try to really make the most of the few weeks with local asparagus and these weeks are something we look forward to every year. Our new recipe takes into account the hot temperatures of the last few days: it's a refreshing salad that seeks to capture the flavours of early summer. We added the almonds for a smoky flavour that adds some savoury depth to the dish. You can buy the smoked almonds or make them yourself.
Serves 2 as a main dish or 4 as a starter
1 bunch white asparagus 1 small honeydew melon 1 cup peas (fresh or frozen) 1-2 (purple) spring onions 1 handful smoked almonds (bought or homemade)
For the dressing:
1 wedge of a preserved lemon (or zest from one lemon) juice of half a lemon 1 tsp mustard 4 tbsp olive oil 1 small handful of mint 2 tsp elderberry jelly (or elderberry syrup) salt pepper
Remove the woody ends of the asparagus and peel the bottom half. Pour about 1 inch of water into a wide pot or pan, add salt and bring to the boil. Cook the asparagus spears for 3-5 minutes - they should still have a bite - remove from the pot and place in ice water. Cook the peas in the same pot for 3-5 minutes until they are cooked but still have bite. Drain the asparagus and cut diagonally into pieces. Peel the honeydew melon, remove the seeds and dice the flesh. Cut the spring onion into fine rings. Put all the ingredients in a large bowl. For the dressing, cut the preserved lemon into small cubes and the mint into fine strips. Mix all the ingredients together and season with salt and pepper. Pour ⅔ of the dressing over the salad and mix well. Coarsely chop the smoked almonds. Arrange the salad on plates, drizzle with the remaining dressing and sprinkle with the chopped almonds.