More blanching!

Im no stranger to asparagus when it is in season, usually sauteed or steamed, but this is the best I have ever prepared. Rapid boiling followed by rapid cooling is clearly a winning method. Gone is the crunchy, squeeky-on-the-teeth feeling, reaching more toward the consistency of tinned asparagus, without being mushy or slimy. Maybe ‘lightly tinned’ might be a good way of describing it.. or what about just ‘cooked perfectly’?

Peeling and segmenting the oranges in an attractive fashion was a wee bit time consuming, but not the dressing. Again simplicity wins with juice of a lemon, olive oil, salt, and white pepper. Only recently have I found white pepper, and when I did, it was on a supermarket shelf in an ordinary suburban supermarket. Does this mean it is an out of fashion ingredient used by old wives in their bean salads? Who could say. I can see how, if I had used white pepper here I could have avoided freckling the dish with black dots.

With ease of preparation, great looks on the table, and a suitably fancy french name, Asparagus and Haricots Verts Salad will be joining the table with those from other pages that have been repeated and have become part of my repertoire. The lemon in the dressing, and the segments of orange lend a refreshing citrussy – my flatmate Jo says “it tastes really ’70s” – flavour, offset by the salt and pepper and oil. Mmm mmm!