Hello lo – I have two salads in quick succession for you today – both prepared for Fairfax newspapers and appearing around the country today. First up is this incredibly easy but satisfying salad that would make a perfect easy mid-week dinner or weekend lunch with friends. The flavours are pretty classic – slightly aniseedy fresh fennel, rich hot smoked salmon, fresh bright new season’s asparagus, peppery watercress and creamy avocado with a hit of lemony mayo. The trick is to see how many of those fabulous components you can get into a single mouthful…well worth the effort!
…and crikey not much else to tell at the moment! The mystery of the self-emptying spa was solved by a technician, cue new motor and hefty bill (so not aliens then), and is now all sorted. Schnub (Hoob) hands in his last essay of the uni year today and is then freeeee – but only for work which he will kick into full time, and he is not due back to Auckland until Christmas Eve. (Poos – I miss him). But in happy news Pog has booked to come back home from Melbourne for my birthday in December! Omfg how am I about to turn 50? I remember aged 10 working out how old I would be in the year 2000 and being so disappointed, that I would be way too old (at 33) to enjoy a party…God only knows whatI would have thought of being 50…bloody ancient! I tossed up whether to hide in my grumpy-old-single-lady shell and have a bah-humbuggy birthday, but couldn’t quite do it – so a party with aperol spritzes, negronis and plenty of music it is then. I do like organising a gathering, perhaps I have somehow missed my calling? Any waaay, time to get up and get walking, I have a crappy cold at the moment but I will go (even more) mad if I don’t get a little exercise…
1/2 cup good quality mayonnaise
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
sea salt to taste
2 bunches fresh asparagus (about 24 fine spears), ends trimmed
1 large or 2 small fennel bulbs
200grams hot smoked salmon
4 cups watercress
¼ cup basil or boxwood basil leaves
Whisk the dressing ingredients together and store in a covered container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Three quarters fill a large pot or saucepan with water and bring to the boil. Drop asparagus spears in for 1 minute (2 minutes if thick spears) then drain and refresh immediately under cold running water, then drain again. Trim the base end from the fennel, halve lengthways and slice finely. Break the salmon into rough chunks and halve and slice the avocados. Layer the watercress onto a serving platter and top with asparagus, fennel, salmon and avocados. Drizzle with salad dressing, garnish with basil leaves and serve immediately.