A couple of years ago, I packed up my frantic London life and set off for the countryside. Along with the move, I launched my blog, The Feast, to document my obsession with food. I’m an unschooled home-cook, with no greater knowledge than other home-cooks across the country. On Lindsay’s Feast, I share my culinary wisdom and (mis)adventures. Whether it’s meeting local producers, swishing across the pond to learn the finer points of wine-tasting, or quite simply battering around my own kitchen attempting to make meringues. I have an excessive sweet-tooth and have never been known to turn down a pudding.
Over the years I’ve lived in Hong Kong, Spain and South Africa, and each place, along with its food, has become a little part of who I am. I now live in a tiny cottage in a bustling Hampshire village. While I may endlessly complain about the rain and threaten to emigrate to the southern hemisphere at least twice a week, this cottage, with its miniscule kitchen and lop-sided stove, is starting to feel very much like home.
A simple spring salad
This is a challenging time, but as many of us slowly get to grips with a new, more isolated, reality, in the back ground spring is springing.
The birds and the blossom are carrying on as usual. Bluebells are popping up in the woods and there’s a scent of wild garlic in the air. Amidst the chaos, there is the slow and steady ritual of mealtimes. I’ve been taking my time in the kitchen, eking out recipes from what’s available, sitting down to eat with my family and sometimes even pouring myself a glass of wine. A simple routine, when everything else feels uncertain.
This spring salad is an annual staple for me and can be easily adapted to what’s available. The mozzarella can be substituted for feta or parmesan for example, or the fennel can be replaced with thinly sliced courgettes. It’s a simple recipe, but a lovely way to celebrate what the new season has on offer.
For the salad:
- A handful of asparagus tips, blanched and shocked
- 100g shelled peas (frozen is fine), blanched and shocked
- 1 fennel bulb, quartered, cored and shaved on a mandolin
- A large handful of salad leaves/pea shoots/watercress/spinach
- 1 ball of mozzarella or burrata
- Zest of 1⁄2 a lemon
- Microgreens or fresh herbs such as mint, tarragon or dill (optional)
For the dressing:
- 125 ml extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1⁄2 tbsp honey
- A pinch of salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Start by making the dressing. Whisk all the ingredients together in a jug or jar. You may have more than you need, but it will keep for up to 5 days in the fridge.
- Toss the asparagus, peas, fennel and salad leaves with just enough dressing to coat them.
- Tumble into a bowl or platter.
- Tear up the mozzarella and scatter over the salad, followed by the fresh herbs and microgreens.
- Grate over the lemon zest and finish with another drizzle of the dressing.
- Serve straight away with a glass of deliciously dry Classic Provence rosé
Optional extras/substitutes: steamed jersey royals or new potatoes, shaved courgettes, shaved carrots