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Spring Starter: Warm Artichoke and Asparagus Salad

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Spring Starter: Warm Artichoke and Asparagus Salad

To celebrate this May bank holiday back together with friends and family, we've created this simple, delicious seasonal menu to bring your spring table to life so you can enjoy memorable moments sharing food with loved ones again. With this sentiment in mind, most components of the menu can be prepared in advance to ensure minimum cook time and maximum social time.

We're starting our three course spring menu with a fresh, flavoursome salad which is easy to prepare but definitely not lacking in flair. With the vibrant mix of colours you get from the green asparagus and the red onion, this will present beautifully on the plate with a bit of creative finesse.

Leiths recommended wine pairings for this dish:

Classic & chic: Pouilly-Fumé, Mathilde de Favray, Loire Valley, France (M&S £17)

Off the beaten track: Pecorino, Contesa, Abbruzzo, Italy (The Wine Society £9.95)

Life is better with fizz: Camel Valley Brut, Cornwall, England NV (Waitrose £29.99)

Spring main course: Lamb Rump, Herbed Gnocchi and Salsa Verde
Spring dessert: Individual Lemon, Raspberry & Elderflower Trifles


Serves 6

For the salad
450g asparagus
2 × 280g jar grilled artichokes, drained but oil reserved
150g pea shoots

For the dressing
7 tbsp oil (from the drained artichokes)
1½ red onion, finely diced
3 spring onions, finely sliced
Small bunch of chives, finely chopped (to garnish)
3 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Warm Artichoke and Asparagus Salad

  1. Trim off the woody, thicker ends of the asparagus. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook the asparagus for 2 minutes then drain and plunge into ice cold water for a further 2 minutes to keep the colour bright. Drain and set aside.
  2. Cut the artichokes in half if very large and set aside, otherwise leave whole.
  3. Heat 3 tbsp of the reserved artichoke oil in a frying pan and gently cook the red onion until completely soft, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the spring onions, half of the chives, 3 more tablespoons of the oil and the white balsamic vinegar and mix well. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a jug or bowl.
  4. Return the same frying pan to a medium heat and add the last tablespoon of oil. Sauté the asparagus for 1-2 minutes and finally add the artichokes to warm through.
  5. To serve, spoon some of the dressing onto each plate. Arrange the asparagus on top along with the artichokes and pea shoots and sprinkle with the remaining chives.

Author: Louise Kissane


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