Saturday, 23 June 2012

Warm summer salad

The news this morning said a month's worth of rain fell yesterday. I can believe it - I went out briefly to the shops and got drenched. The streets in my neighbourhood were completely awash because the drains were overflowing. And yet, it's still summer and the shops are full of delicious seasonal produce.

So despite the wind and rain last night, I used some of my favourite summer vegetables to knock up this salad for my supper.

What you need: 
Handful of Jersey Royal potatoes
A portion of fresh broad beans
4-5 asparagus spears
A couple of large salad leaves such as Cos or Romaine
Olive oil
Fruit vinegar

What to do: 
Pod the broad beans. Halve or even quarter the potatoes if large then boil until tender. Boil the broad beans for 3-4 minutes and cook the asparagus for 5-6 minutes.

While everything's on the hob, wash the leaves, pat dry and tear into pieces. Put in a bowl. Make a very light dressing with the oil, vinegar and a pinch of sea salt and black pepper.

Drain the potatoes and tip them over the salad leaves. Drain the broad beans and scatter over the potatoes. Pour the dressing over and lay the asparagus over the top. Eat while still warm.

Cook's tips: 
You need about 500g of broad beans in the pod for one portion. If the beans are small, they won't need skinning. Larger beans will need boiling for around 5 minutes and should be skinned as their skins are much tougher.

You don't need much dressing at all - just enough to coat the ingredients slightly, not to drown them. A herb-infused oil works really well for this and if you have a citrussy vinegar, use it (raspberry vinegar is also nice). Taste and taste again to check the balance of flavours.

To make this more substantial, you could include some crispy bacon or top it with a poached egg.