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Spears of joy…

Right up there on my list of favourite veg is asparagus. The new asparagus season always fills me with joy and – not boasting – it’s partly because I have inherited an asparagus bed at the allotment I share with a few friends. An asparagus bed can take up to seven years to get going, which just confirms how special it is. So, when the spears start to peak through the earth in April it’s a sure sign that spring has truly arrived. The season is so brief it’s tempting to completely overindulge in this beautiful vegetable.

In this recipe from my book The Salad Bowl, published by Ryland Peters & Small, the asparagus is roasted, rather than steamed. It is partnered with stunning candy-striped Chiogga beetroot and the French nutty-tasting sheep’s cheese, ossau iraty. You could choose regular beetroot, if easier for you, and swap the ossau iraty for slivers of parmesan, gruyere or emmenthal. The citrus dressing unifies the fresh components, while the chunky croutons lend a lovely bit of crunch.

Here’s the recipe

The photograph is by the super-talented Matt Russell.