Hanging out the washing in the garden, podding peas and scrubbing the papery skin from baby new potatoes are amongst the few mundane jobs that I never complain about. Possibly because the season for doing all three in England is so short, but I think it's more likely because they all shout out SUMMER...
The last two also shout out salad. Baby Jersey Royal potatoes being one of the main ingredients in my current favourite salad along with fennel, asparagus and a citrusy parsley dressing.
To make my Jersey Royal, Asparagus and Fennel Salad for four people you will need:
- 750g of Jersey Royal Potatoes or any good salad variety
- One large or two small heads of fennel
- Two large tomatoes cut into mouth sized pieces or a couple of handfuls of cherry ones
- A bunch of asparagus or two depending on the size...and how much you like it
- Black olives
For the dressing:
- Lots of fresh parsley or any other herb or can use the feathery tops of the fennel
- A finely chopped red onion
- One lemon or lime
- Olive oil
- A clove or two of minced garlic
- One small red onion very finely chopped
- Sea salt and black pepper
- Wash the potatoes really well, giving them a good scrub to remove any soil. You can scrape them with knife to remove all the skin if you like but it's so tender you hardly notice it, and a good source of ruffage. If small leave whole and cut any larger ones into similar sized slices so that they will all cook at the same time. Pop them into a saucepan, cover with cold water and a little salt. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about ten or fifteen minutes until tender.
- Take your asparagus and break each one at the point they naturally want to. This will ensure the harder end of the stalk is removed. Reserve these hard ends to add to soups or vegetable stock. Take the tender shoots and place in a colander. Season with salt. This can be popped onto the saucepan with the potatoes half way through their cooking enabling you to steam them during the last few minutes.
- Meanwhile wash and slice the fennel bulbs finely. Reserving some of the feathery tops to add to the dressing. Place in a large serving bowl.
- Make the dressing in a small bowl by chopping the parsley or fennel tops, (or a bit of both) finely. Add the finely chopped onion, crushed garlic, olive oil and lemon/lime juice. Season, taste and adjust all the ingredients to taste.
- Wash and add the tomatoes along with the olives to the serving bowl with the fennel.
- When the potatoes are tender,drain and add to the other salad ingredients. Ditto the asparagus.
- Dress the salad while still warm and eat as soon as possible.