After what feels like an eternity, it seems the long Melbourne winter is finally over. Which means.... picnic time!! Yesterday was the first picnic of the season for me, and I was totally inspired by the beautiful sunshine to try a fabulous new salad recipe.
What I really loved about this dish, was that none of the flavours were competing, they just worked together perfectly to create a zingy, textural explosion in your mouth.
To achieve the full potential of this salad, you really do need the best beautiful fresh ingredients. Please please please don't use frozen peas! And go for a full bodied extra virgin olive oil for the dressing. It really will make all the difference!
1 cup fine bulgur (cracked wheat)
1 bunch asparagus, cut into 2cm pieces
1 cup freshly shelled peas
2 free range eggs, hard boiled*
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1/2 bunch chives, roughly chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
1 clove garlic
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt flakes
Cracked black pepper
Fill a medium sauce pan with water and bring to a boil. You'll need this to quickly blanch the asparagus and peas.
Put the bulgur in a heatproof bowl and add enough boiling water from the kettle to just cover the surface of the grains. Let it stand for about 10 minutes whilst you prep the other ingredients. Once it's fluffed up and tender, keep stirring it regularly to help it cool.
Blanch the asparagus and shelled peas in your pot of boiling water, for 30 seconds at most. What you want is bright green vegetables that still have a good amount of crunch. Drain them, then run under cold water to stop the cooking, and add to the slightly cooled bulgur.
Next toast the slivered almonds in a dry pan over medium heat, until they are crunchy and golden. Add them to the bulgur along with the chopped chives and stir to combine.
To make the dressing simply crush a garlic clove in a mortar and pestle with a good pinch of sea salt, pour in the juice of one lemon and the olive oil. Whisk this together and add a little pepper.
To bring it all together, break the hard boiled eggs up roughly and sprinkle over the bulgur. Pour over the dressing, and gently mix together. Check the seasoning and add more salt and pepper if needed. (Or, if you need this salad to travel well, I'd recommend keeping the dressing separate and adding it just prior to serving).
*For perfect hard-boiled eggs place them in a small pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat, then turn off the heat, cover, and let sit for exactly seven minutes. When the eggs have finished cooking place them into a bowl of ice water for three minutes or so. Crack the shells, peel and enjoy!
Serves 4 - 6
Serves 4 - 6