If you’re living in a big city and your Vitamin D levels are a bit low and your skin tone is slightly off and your the type of person that tell yourself that you will – later on/when you get older/soon – start spending more time in nature, this is a salad for you. After you’re done making it you will feel like you’ve taken a walk in the countryside/done some gardening/taken a hike in the forest. Your pick.
If I may say so myself, this is an extremely elegant salad. The combination of flavors and textures are complex, yet smooth and subtle: creamy avocado marrying herby tarragon, crispy sweet pea shoot on silky butter salad. And the colors – oh, the colors – they are all in the same spectrum – green – but range from soft fennel-green to dark parsley-green. And that’s what makes this salad so beautiful! (So when your instinct tells you to add some tomatoes or olives, you must tell yourself No!)
When turning fresh greens into something elegant you have to handle your produce with care. Cause you can’t cover up your mistakes with heavy seasoning. Your asparagus need to be blanched to perfection, crisp but not tough, your white beans might need a little extra seasoning not to disappear in the crowd, your avocado can’t wait for that squeeze of lemon but need it straight away. So, like a good host at a dinner party you have to spend some time with each one of them, letting them know that you care about there well being.
Your guests, your actual guest at your actual dinner party, might not realize what effort you spent on each ingredient. But they will love your salad. And they’ll be impressed and mystified, unable to untangle the web of green stuff that you put in it, thinking they can never replicate it. In their minds your salad is like a mystical night garden…
- 600 g of fresh tuna
- 300 g of mixed greens (mesclun, arugula, baby spinach, butter lettuce and/or baby gem)
- 1 bulb of fennel
- About 400 g of giant white beans, canned or cooked
- 2 bunch of asparagus
- 1 package of sweet pea shoot
- 1 lemon cut into wedges, chili flakes.
- Adapted from April Bloomfield
- I big avocado or 2 small
- ¼ cup / 60 ml finely chopped chives
- ¼ cup / 60 ml finely chopped leaves of fresh tarragon, basil and/or oregano
- I garlic clove, finely chopped
- ½ cup / 120 ml heavy cream
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1-2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 pinches of flaky sea salt
- ½ cup / 120 ml extra virgin olive oil
- Take out the tuna from the fridge and season with salt and pepper. Start with the dressing. Put everything but the olive oil into a blender. Mix together. Then, while mixing, pour in the olive oil. Taste. Add more lemon or salt if needed.
- In a small bowl, mix the white beans with some olive oil, a squeeze of lemon and salt and pepper.
- Cut the fennel in cm-thin slices. Boil the asparagus for about 3 minutes. When there’s 1 min left, put the fennel in. Rinse in cold water.
- Put the greens/salad in a large bowl. Assemble the asparagus, fennel and white beans over it.
- Put butter or a neutral oil in a frying pan. When hot put the tuna in and sear for about 1 minute on each side (As you can see, I overcooked mine slightly on the pictures). Cut into cm-thin slices and put on the salad. Sprinkle with the pea shoots. Add dollops of the dressing.
- Serve with lemon wedges and chili flakes.