In honour of the Queen’s second birthday week (lucky her!), our chef André has created this delicious seasonal asparagus salad, bursting with yummy (and healthy!) ingredients. Arranging the leaves in a crown at the end makes it look like a salad fit for the queen! Arise Sir André, your salad has been knighted!
Baby Gem Lettuce
Lambs Lettuce and Bulls Blood Leaves
Pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees. Quarter the new potatoes and pop them onto a baking tray. Drizzle over 1 tbsp of olive oil and 1/2 tsp of salt. Mix well and pop the tray on the top shelf of your oven to roast for 25-30 mins.
Prepare the fennel. Remove the thin bits at the top and keep to one side. Cut the fennel in half lengthways and then remove the tough core (see picture). Cut each half of the fennel into four wedges. Zest the lemon and squeeze the juice into a bowl. Pop the fennel in a bowl, season with 1/4 tsp of salt, 1 tbsp of olive oil and half of your lemon juice. Mix well and then pop onto another roasting tray. Put the fennel in your oven and roast for 20-25 mins as well, turning after 12 mins to make sure it cooks evenly.
While your fennel and potatoes cook, cut the bottom 2cm off the asparagus stalks. Remove the roots from the spring onions(but keep whole). Finely chop the chives or snip them with scissors if you have them! Chop the fennel tops as small as you can.
Heat a wide based frying pan on high heat (do not add any oil). When the pan is really hot, add the spring onions. You want them to char, so leave them for 1 1/2 - 2 mins before turning and making sure that they are nicely coloured. Repeat on the other side and keep them to one side. Repeat the process with the asparagus cooking for 3 mins on each side. Tip: Do this in batches if necessary as overcrowding the pan will slow down the charring process.When all of the asparagus are charred, season them with 1/4 tsp of salt, a drizzle of olive oil and 1 tsp of lemon juice. Place them on a chopping board, cut them in half at an angle and keep them to one side.
Now make the dressing, mix the chives into the sour cream along with a generous pinch of the lemon zest and 1 tsp of lemon juice. Season with a pinch of salt and then taste the dressing to make sure it has enough zing! Add more lemon juice if you want!
Prepare the baby gem lettuce by removing the root and then separating the leaves. When you get to the core, cut this in half lengthways. Put all of the prepped baby gem in a bowl, we will dress it later.
Check your fennel and potatoes, if they are golden, remove from your oven and get ready to assemble a salad fit for The Queen!
Dress your baby gem with half of your sour cream dressing. Make sure the leaves are well coated. Neatly place four pieces of roasted fennel in the centre of each of your plates. Surround them with a crown of baby gem leaves.
Pop a small pile of the lambs lettuce and bulls blood leaves on top of your fennel and then top with your cooked asparagus. Finish your plates with your roasted potatoes and drape your spring onionson top. Sprinkle over your chopped fennel tops. Serve the leftover sour cream dressing as a dip for your asparagus. Bow to your royal salad and then devour like a medieval peasant!