Spring calls for fresh salads and flavours, try this recipe so satisfy your tastebuds
British asparagus is now in the supermarkets and what better way to make the most of this short but glorious season than with this twist on a salad niçoise? Traditional recipes include green beans, but the bright, springtime taste of asparagus really lifts the dish. The trick is not to overcook the stems—they should still have some bite—and the same goes for tuna steak, which is best when it’s still hot pink in the centre.
• 12 new potatoes
• 4 eggs
• 2tbsp olive oil
• 400-500g fresh tuna
• 400g asparagus with the woody ends removed
• 120g black olives (pitted)
• 120g babyleaf herb salad
For the dressing:
• 1 shallot, finely chopped
• 1 tsp mustard (honey Dijon)
• 1 lime, juiced
• 4tbsp olive oil
• crusty bread, to serve
1. Boil the potatoes for 8–12 mins until they become tender. Remove them from the pan with a slotted spoon, cool under a stream of cold running water, and then set them aside.
2. Meanwhile, carefully lower the eggs into the pan of boiling water, and put on a timer for 6 or 7 minutes, depending on whether you prefer a runny or hard yolk. Carefully remove the eggs from the pan using the slotted spoon, cool them under a stream of cold running water, peel and set aside.
3. Drizzle the olive oil to taste over the tuna steaks and the asparagus, season with salt and toss to make sure they’re coated. Heat a griddle or frying pan until very hot. Pan fry the asparagus for 5 minutes, turning it so it takes on even colour.
4. Add the tuna to the pan, and sear for 2 minutes on either side. Place the tuna steaks on a board to rest.
"TIP: For convenience you can use tinned or smoked tuna (available from specialists like H Forman and Sons or The Fish Society) instead of fresh fish"
5. Halve the potatoes and eggs, and put them in a mixing bowl along with the asparagus, olives and herb salad.
6. Mix together the dressing ingredients and pour the mixture over the salad, then toss everything gently to make sure that it’s all evenly coated.
7. Pile the salad on a platter, and then cut the tuna steaks into slices and arrange it neatly on top. Serve your salad with crusty bread.