Asparagus, Mozzarella Herb Salad

The dressing is the surprise star of this salad show. Fresh and zesty and it-just-has-to-be-good-for-you vibrantly green coloured it brings everything together. I haven’t experimented yet but I’m thinking it would make a lovely dressing for potato salad or even as an accompaniment to white fleshed fish.

1 very large bunch asparagus (approx 500g)
1/3 loaf sourdough bread
¼ C extra virgin olive oil+ 1T
½ bunch flat leaf parley, leaves picked
½ bunch chives, finely chopped
1T capers in salt, well washed
2T lemon juice, or to taste
2 handfuls wild rocket leaves
2 handfuls watercress sprigs
200g ball buffalo mozzarella
2T pinenuts, toasted

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil and preheat oven to 200C. Snap the woody ends off the base of the asparagus and peel the lower halves if you feel like it. Simmer asparagus for 2-6 minutes or until just past al dente. Drain and refresh in cold water.

Meanwhile tear bred into bite sized chunks, removing any tough crust and place on a baking tray. Drizzle with oil and bake for approx 10mins or until dried out a little.

Place parsley leaves in a strainer and pour over boiling water to blanch. Refresh under cold water then squeeze dry and chop finely. Place in a small saucepan with capers and remaining oil and heat until it starts to sizzle. Remove from the heat and stir in lemon juice and chives and season.

Place drained asparagus in a large salad bowl with toasted bread and leaves and drizzle over 2/3 of the dressing. Toss until well combined and then tear mozzarella into chunks and scatter over along with the pine nuts. Drizzle with remaining dressing and allow to stand for 10mins or so to allow the bread can soak up some of your dressing. Just enough time to pack up your picnic gear and head to your favourite harbourside picnic spot.

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