Fresh crisp asparagus, sweet peas, refreshing mint and a tart, shalloty dressing make for the loveliest spring salad. There are a few steps with the blanching and ice bath, but it's a simple recipe and so worth the effort.
Ice for ice water bath
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
500 g of in season asparagus, ends trimmed, cut into 3-4-inch pieces
315 g of fresh shelled peas or thawed frozen
1 shallot, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
30 g of chopped mint leaves, fresh
Grated zest of 1 lemon or lime
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Fill a large bowl or your (freshly cleaned) sink with ice and water.
Pick over and chop the fresh mint leaves. Zest the lemon or lime.
Blanch the asparagus, but adding the spears to the boiling water and cooking until bright green—around 3 minutes. You want a bit of snap and the asparagus should be bright green, so take care not to overcook.
Remove the cooked asparagus with a slotted spoon and transfer immediately to the ice bath.
Add the peas to the boiling water for a couple of minutes or until just slightly cooked. Peas should still be bright green and firm. Drain the peas in a colander and transfer immediately to the ice bath. Allow the peas and asparagus to cool completely and then strain, shaking the colander gently to remove as much water as you can.
While the vegetables drain, combine the shallot and half the vinegar in a large bowl. Allow to sit for a bit to let flavours mellow.
In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining vinegar and the olive oil. Season the vinaigrette with salt and pepper.
Add the asparagus, peas to the large bowl and add the mint, lemon zest and salt and pepper to taste. Gently toss to combine. Add the vinegar and olive oil and gently toss again. Serve immediately.