I was going to write a post about the marmalade I made a little while ago. I was hoping to get it up before citrus is totally irrelevant (it’s heading that way!) and all preserving eyes are on strawberry jams and the like.
But. I’ve been gripped by The Asparagus Bug that’s been going around. And a Wednesday spent in warm, sunny Auckland coupled with some glorious Wellington sun yesterday has catapulted me into the world of springtime and sunshine and bare legs* and picnics. And salads. So a rich, almost-bitter bourbon-citrus marmalade is about as far from my mind as snowflakes and hot chocolates.
Yesterday after work I rushed home via Moore Wilson’s, picking up a hefty bunch of asparagus and some spring onions and feta. I had in mind this salad I made once before, at New Year’s, with friends at Pakiri in this scungy bach (which, awkwardly, had no interior doors) we rented late in the New Year’s game.
I couldn’t remember too much about the salad other than the fact that it contained asparagus and edamame and it was Really Green: that glorious shade of grass-green you get in early spring, before everything dries out and gets all scorched and brown. The colour of my lounge walls the first two years of flatting. In-your-face, can’t-ignore-it green.
So, in an attempt at recreating one of the last glorious moments of 2010 I started at asparagus and edamame. It wasn’t too far a stretch to add some peppery rocket and spring onions, some sharp, creamy feta and smooth-sweet mint. I kept the dressing a simple vinaigrette, with parsley and lemon juice and red wine vinegar and some good, grassy olive oil. It all came together beautifully easily, in a matter of minutes, and tasted so fresh and springlike that I ate a second bowl after finishing the first.
In the recipe below I’ve kept quantities loose – the idea is really to make it how you like it, with the green things you have (though I do recommend the brilliant-green combination of asparagus and edamame to start with).
*The last two days have been my first two (and miraculously consecutive) days of not wearing tights this spring. And I’m sitting here now in a sleeveless top. Bring on summer!
THE GREENEST OF SALADS
Take about a cup of shelled edamame (about half a bag if you’re using frozen edamame pods), place in a bowl with some rocket, chopped spring onion and mint. Break off the woody ends of a handful of asparagus stalks and slice them on the diagonal. Blanch the asparagus in boiling water (I only cook them for a minute or so, so they’re still crisp and fresh-tasting), drain and plunge in a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking. Add to the salad with plenty of crumbled feta.
Dress with a simple vinaigrette of lemon juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil and finely chopped parsley.
Enjoy: it’s a bowlful of health. If you’re not good at feeling virtuous, offset with whatever unhealthy thing you feel necessary (for me, it was a bottle of Townshend Sutton Hoo I sought out after reading this).