As Spring time comes, there is a shift in the produce available on the market. Spring is the season for light and fresh vegetables and this starts to be reflected in our meals too.
On a recent trip to the supermarket’s fresh produce section, I noticed some nice green asparagus and some fresh fennel bulbs. I immediately wanted to get them even if I had nothing in mind what to do with them yet.
While living in Budapest, we frequently bought asparagus, both the green and the white variants. We have prepared a mouthwatering Spinach and Asparagus Risotto multiple times, and I always saw this dish as a celebration of Spring produce. Although in Malta we do not find ramps, I have made a similar risotto based on the the same recipe.
Back to the salad; After a whole morning running errands, I prepared this quick, fresh and lovely salad as a light meal, using both the asparagus and fennel bulb I bought a day before. Before grilling the asparagus and fennel bulb, I tossed them quickly in a tangy marinade, bringing out their freshness which resulted in a vibrant taste. The marinade included the juice and zest of a lemon, some white wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil and chilli flakes. I used the same marinade as a dressing to the salad.
In this recipe, I used the green olives which my father harvested late last year from his fields. After a couple of months in brine, they were transferred to a jar of olive oil for preservation and subsequent consumption.
This salad is ideal on a warm Spring day but I would eat it even on a grey day as it definitely brings sunshine to your mood! 😀 It is also great to serve this salad as a side dish.
Grilled Fennel & Asparagus Salad
A quick tangy and fresh Spring salad ideal for a light lunch or as a side dish
- For the marinade/dressing:
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 tsp chilli flakes
- Sea salt & black pepper For the salad:
- 8-10 green asparagus
- 1 fennel bulb
- 50g pine nuts
- 50g sultanas
- 100g kalamata olives
- 200g mixed salad leaves
- In a mixing bowl, whisk all the ingredients for the marinade. Make sure that the olive oil is well combined with the rest of the ingredients. Set aside.
- Trim the asparagus and the fennel bulb. Slice the fennel bulb in half.
- Toss the vegetables into the marinade and cover them well.
- Put a pan on a medium high heat. Once hot, place the vegetables into the pan and grill until they start to char. Turn them over so they have some colour on all sides.
- In the meantime, toast the pine nuts in a small pan until golden brown. Set aside to cool.
- Once ready chop the asparagus and fennel into bite size pieces.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine all salad ingredients together. Pour some dressing over and toss everything to coat all ingredients.
- Once you pour the dressing, serve immediately.