Recipes: Spring salads

Shallot, Courgette, British Asparagus Salad

A deliciously light spring salad with few ingredients, ready to eat in 15 minutes. If you can, make sure to buy courgettes and asparagus in season, when they’ll be at their sweetest.

Serves: 4

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time:  5 minutes                                        

You’ll need                               

250g bunch of British asparagus

4 shallots, finely sliced

2 small courgettes, sliced into disks

100g feta, broken into small pieces

2 tsp poppy seeds

4-5 sprigs tarragon, leaves roughly chopped

½ lemon

2 tbsp olive oil

1tsp dijon mustard

2 tbsp creme fraiche

What to do

Bring a pan of water to the boil and blanch the asparagus for 2-3 minutes. Add the sliced shallots to the pan for 30 seconds then drain the pan and run the veg under cold water.

Drain again and put into a salad bowl with the courgette, feta, poppy seeds and tarragon.

To mix the dressing put the juice of the lemon, oil, mustard and creme fraiche in jar with a screw top. Season and shake to combine. Drizzle over the salad and toss well.

Taste and adjust the seasoning of necessary.

Strawberry, Fig and Rosewater Salad

Serve this as a summer dessert on warm balmy evenings. It's healthy, slightly unusual and very pretty. It also works well as a special breakfast fruit salad. You can find rosewater in most supermarkets and it’s worth the effort to get it as it really makes the dish.

Serves: 4

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: n/a

You’ll need:

For the syrup

100g caster sugar

100ml water

1 tsp rosewater

To serve

500g strawberries

4 figs

200ml of greek yoghurt

What to do:

Firstly make the syrup by combining the sugar and water. Bring it to the boil and simmer until the sugar has dissolved. Then take off the heat and add the rosewater. Cool completely.

Next, take the strawberries and hull them, leave them whole and arrange on a platter or large plate.

Quarter the figs and arrange on top. Finally, sprinkle over the rosewater syrup. Serve with the greek yoghurt on the side.


Crunchy Summer Salad with Celery, Radish and Apple

This quick and easy salad packs a real crunch, helping you feel fuller for longer. It’s an ideal light lunch or perfect summer supper when served with cold roast chicken or grilled salmon fillets.

Serves: 2

Preparation time:  15 minutes

Cooking time: n/a

You’ll need:

2 sticks of celery

4 radish

¼ Chinese leaf lettuce

½ green apple

2 spring onions

1 tbsp olive oil

2 tsp whole grain mustard

2 tsp honey

2 tsp lemon juice

Handful of walnuts, roughly chopped

Salt and pepper to season

What to do:

Slice the celery, radish, Chinese leaf, apple and spring onion very finely with a knife or with a mandolin.

Mix together the oil, mustard, honey and lemon juice and season.

On a large plate, lay out the sliced vegetables, then top with the walnuts and the dressing.

Griddled British asparagus with feta and beetroot dressing

Bright pink beetroot dressing and fresh green asparagus not only look beautiful together but taste amazing with creamy feta and zingy mint.

Serves: 4

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes

You’ll need:

125g cooked beetroot (1/2 a pack)

2 tbsp Greek yogurt

2 tbsp crème fraîche

1 small clove garlic, roughly chopped

2 bunches British asparagus, trimmed

2 tbsp olive oil

salt and freshly ground black pepper

100g feta cheese, crumbled

Handful of mint leaves, chopped

What to do:

Set a griddle pan over a high heat to get really hot - this will take a good 5 minutes.

To make the dressing, add the beetroot, Greek yogurt, creme fraiche and garlic to a deep jug and pulse to a smooth sauce with a stick blender. Season to taste with a little salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Tip the asparagus into a mixing bowl and drizzle over the olive oil, seasoning with a little salt and freshly ground black pepper. Spread out on the griddle pan and cook for about 5-6 minutes, turning regularly until lightly charred and just tender. You may need to do this in batches depending on the size of your pan.

Scatter the asparagus over a serving platter and drizzle over the dressing. Sprinkle over the feta and the mint and serve straight away.

Griddled Lemony Chicken Fillets with a Tomato Salad and Minted Pea Dressing

Serves: 4

Preparation time: 45 minutes

Cooking time: 4 minutes

You’ll need:

Juice of half a lemon

3-4 tbsp olive oil

1 heaped tsp cumin seeds, lightly crushed

500g mini chicken fillets

750g mixed Heirloom or Speciality Isle of Wight Tomatoes

1 bunch spring onions, trimmed and thinly sliced

For the minted pea dressing:

175g frozen petit pois peas

8 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp red wine vinegar

A good pinch of caster sugar

2 large shallots, halved and thinly sliced

The leaves from a 20g packet of mint, chopped

What to do:

Mix the lemon juice, olive oil, crushed cumin seeds and 1/2 tsp sea salt flakes together in a shallow dish. Stir in the mini chicken fillets and leave to marinate for 30 minutes.

For the salad dressing put the peas into a bowl and cover with boiling hot water. Leave for 5 minutes, then drain and set aside to cool. Whisk the oil, vinegar, sugar, and some salt and pepper to taste together in a bowl. Stir in the shallots and set aside with the chicken.

Five minutes before you are ready to serve, cut the tomatoes into small chunky pieces and put them into a bowl with the spring onions and some sea salt flakes and pepper to taste. Toss together gently then spread over the base of a large serving plate.

Preheat a ridged griddle of griddle pan over a high heat until smoking hot. Reduce the heat to medium-high. Lift the chicken fillets out of the marinade, lay them on the griddle and cook for 2 minutes on each side until cooked through and golden brown.

Lift the hot chicken fillets onto the tomato salad. Stir the mint and peas into the dressing and spoon it over the chicken and tomatoes. Scatter over the mint leaves and serve.