Here it is! A rather delicious asparagus salad, and my new favourite brunch dish. I made this up over the weekend, based on a classic Italian combination and a starter my ex-chef friend made for a recent lunch party. It has green, white and purple asparagus - some raw and sliced into fine shavings, some lightly cooked in chunks - with a soft-poached egg, parmesan cheese and mostarda di fruitta. Of course, I finished it with some lovely extra virgin olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice, and plenty of freshly cracked salt and pepper - gorgeous with a thick slice of grainy sourdough toast to catch all the lovely juices.
I must admit, I made this dish primarily because I had heaps of asparagus that needed to be used and I thought it would look pretty; I wasn't prepared for how wonderful it would taste!
I'd bought a lot of asparagus the day before - a total impulse buy - at the Vic Market. I'm usually a stickler for recipes, and will only buy what's on my list. But when I saw the below display I couldn't resist! And without a final recipe in mind, I bought one bunch of each colour: white, purple and green. I'm glad to say this salad was the result of my impulsiveness.
I was actually at the market on a guided tour, having been invited along to join in a Foodies Tour. Whenever I'm travelling I love to wander through markets - some of my faves have been: Port Vila Market in Vanuatu, the Nishiki Food Market in Kyoto, Vienna's Naschmarkt, Barcelona's world-famous La Bouqueria and, of course, London's amazing Borough Market. I do shop at the Vic Market reasonably regularly, but usually I'm in too much of a hurry and am too busy elbowing my way through the crowds to stop and look around. It was really nice to take a different view of our very own Queen Vic Market, and I took heaps of photos just like a tourist! I've put the pics up on my Facebook page, so do check them out if you are interested.
Now, back to the asparagus salad! I've put the recipe in full at the bottom of this post, and have some pictures here of the steps involved. There's a bit of fiddly assembly involved, but it's not too difficult - and so worth the effort!
Let's check out my new slate-coloured pebble bowl from Mud - and big thanks to my friends Soph, Alae and Kristine for giving me a Mud voucher for my birthday this year! I absolutely love it! Yay!
|Cooked asparagus lengths - the purple colour seems to fade when it's cooked|
|Arranging the raw asparagus shavings on top|
|With thin slices of mostarda di frutta|
A Rather Delicious Asparagus SaladAn original recipe by Sarah Cooks, inspired by a classic Italian combinationServes 1
Ingredients2 stalks each white, purple and green asparagus1 egg, preferably free range and/or organic1 tbs extra virgin olive oilA generous squeeze of lemon juiceSea salt and black pepperTo taste: mostarda di frutta, Parmesan cheese
MethodWash the asparagus stalks and snap off the woody ends. Take one stalk of each colour and use a vegetable peeler to slice them into thin shavings. Set aside.Slice the remaining asparagus stalks into 3cm lengths. Blanch in boiling salted water until tender but still crisp, about 2 minutes. Drain the asparagus pieces, cool under cold running water and drain again.Poach an egg in simmering water until cooked to your liking.Meanwhile, to make the dressing, stir the olive oil and lemon juice in a small bowl, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Swirl the cooked asparagus pieces in the dressing to coat, and place on a serving plate. Place the drained, poached egg on top.Swirl the asparagus shavings in the dressing to coat, and pile on top of the egg. Add shavings of Parmesan cheese and thin slices of mostarda di frutta. Drizzle generously with more olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.Serve with thick slices of sourdough or multigrain toast.