an unusual lemon and herb dressing

having bought asparagus to make the moro scrambled eggs with prawns and asparagus i wanted to try something different with the rest. the focus of this dish is the lemon, tomato and herb dressing which nigel slater wrote about earlier this year – he describes a fresh and bright marriage of herbs and sharp citrus (you use the flesh of a lemon, finely diced and with all the pith and peel removed) which has been  tucked away in my memory ever since.

the balance of flavours works really well – there is a lot of olive oil to help reduce the impact of all that lemon flesh. i used a different combination of herbs – fennel, lemon balm, basil and tarragon – and think the recipe would work well with many combinations, just use whatever you have in.

we ate this with burgers and some tomato jam on the side.

nigel slater’s asparagus with lemon and tomato sauce (serves 2)

1 lemon

60ml olive oil

1 tablespoon of lemon juice

8 cherry tomatoes

6 thin stems of chives

8 leaves of basil

1 tablespoon of tarragon

250g asparagus

slice the skin from the lemon then remove all the white pith that lies underneath. remove the sections of flesh and cut them into tiny pieces. put the lemon in a mixing bowl and pour in the olive oil and lemon juice.

cut the tomatoes in half then add them to the lemon. finely chop the chives, shred the basil and chop the tarragon, then add to the bowl. season gently. set aside in a cool place for the flavours to marry.

trim the asparagus, removing any tough ends, then steam or cook in boiling water. when tender, after 8 or 9 minutes, drain and divide between two plates. spoon over the lemon dressing and serve.