This is a lovely light summers lunch, using the best if what is available now. We have been blessed with fantastic weather in the UK, and we are all really enjoying eating al fresco, (where possible). Asparagus is grown not far from where I live, and the new potatoes are slowly creeping northward, they are now ready in Lincolnshire- not so far away. We live in a veritable market garden in Yorkshire and our greengrocer (Rafters of Driffield) do their very best to source as much local produce as possible. Our part of the Uk is well known for all salad produce, we have fantastic lettuces, herbs, tomatoes and cucumbers. There are acres of glass not far away!
The dressing for this salad uses our local rapeseed oil Yorkshire rapeseed oil, which I use in the majority of my cooking. It gives a really lovely subtle flavour without overpowering the taste of the fresh herbs. I used basil, tarragon, chives and parsley, but you can use whatever you would like or have to hand.
I also cooked 2 large chicken fillets, I poached them in water with a splash of wine, tarragon, parsley and peppercorns. They cooked gently for about 20 minutes. I then let them cool slightly and then shredded them into small strips. If you have left over cooked chicken this is perfect for that too.
This would be great as part of a picnic, you can use the lettuce leaves as a means to eat the salad!
I hope you enjoy this as much as we did, it lasted 5 minutes if that!
Blanching the asparagus
Our Potatoes are a few weeks off being ready yet!
I always have a good selection of herbs at hand ready for picking!
200g asparagus, or fine beans
450g baby new potatoes, scraped.
1 ripe avocado
340g cooked chicken, shredded
1 little gem lettuce, washed
A few chive flowers or other edible flowers
For the herb mayonnaise
1 egg yolk
1 tsp caster sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
75ml rape seed oil
1 tsp chopped parsley
1 tsp chopped chives, or a mixture of any other herbs
Cook the potatoes in salted water until tender. Keep warm.
Softly hard boil the eggs, for about 8 minutes. Cool. Then peel and quarter.
Trim the woody stems from the asparagus. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook the asparagus (or beans) for 1 minute until tender and then refresh briefly under cold running water just to stop the cooking process but not to cool completely.
Whisk the egg yolk, caster sugar and lemon juice together, slowly pour in the oil whilst still whisking to create an emulsion. Add the chopped herbs and season to taste.
Peel and slice the avocados.
Mix all the chicken with most of the herb mayonnaise together in a large bowl, , add the asparagus, potatoes and avocado and lightly toss together.
Take a large serving plate and arrange the little gem leaves over the base. Place the chicken mixture over the lettuce leaves, then dress with the egg slices, drizzle over the remaining dressing and arrange the edible flowers on the top.