While May Day isn’t particularly celebrated in North America, and it is often more known for worker’s marches in many other places these days, it was traditionally the day when spring was welcomed in the northern hemisphere, particularly in England and other parts of northern Europe. You’ll still come across celebrations with people dancing round a maypole, jumping fires or in England, it’s when Morris dancers gets their bells out. In most places, the traditional May day foods have been largely lost, but with the day’s celebrations also representing fertility and a celebration of the season’s produce, this spring salad aims to bring together all the May Day ideas. And the result is a deliciously tasty salad, perfect for lunch or a light meal, on any day, not just today.
This spring salad is easy to put together, with lots of delicious flavors and textures. It’s also bright and colorful, another great reminder of spring. It’s been a while since I had goats cheese toasts – I’ve tended to use goat’s cheese in other thing like goats cheese tartlets and a dressing for a winter salad instead. When I was younger, though, they seemed to have a bit of a gain in popularity and the texture makes a great contrast to everything else in this salad. They are soooo tasty so any excuse to have them, really – in fact as I was thinking about putting them in here, it got me thinking why I don’t make them more often. Then I ate them and I thought it even more. Anyway, they are great on top of this spring salad.
As I said, this salad makes a great lunch or lighter meal, plus it would also work as a side to other things such as grilled chicken. The quantities are approximate as you could easily increase or decrease components depending on your preference. I have dressed it with a lemony-basil dressing which has a nice sharpness that contrasts with the sweetness of the strawberries (if you don’t like the sharpness you can add up to a teaspoon of sugar or honey to make it have less of a kick), but you could just as easily use your favorite dressing such as a French dressing or simple oil and balsamic vinegar.
This salad is easy, colorful and full of lots of wonderful flavors, as well as healthy goodness. It’s great for spring when all the ingredients are in season, but it would be great other times as well. In short, make it and enjoy. I’m going to make some more and take it over to everyone at Fiesta Friday and Foodie FriDIY. Although some of the goats cheese toasts may get ‘lost’ on the way….
- 10 spears asparagus, cut in to roughly 1in/2-3cm chunks
- 2tbsp olive oil
- 2tbsp lemon juice
- salt and pepper
- around 10 basil leaves
- ½ a small-medium bulb of fennel
- around 4 handfuls of arugula/rocket
- around 6 strawberries
- 6 slices of baguette
- 1 small goats cheese round (with rind)
- Steam the asparagus chunks for around 3-5minutes until tender to the knifepoint then run under cold water/dunk in cold water to stop them cooking further.
- Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice and a couple grinds of salt and pepper. Finely chop the basil leaves and mix with the oil-lemon dressing.
- Finely slice the fennel, cutting larger slices in half or smaller, then mix with the arugula/rocket. Mix through the dressing and arrange on either two plates or one larger serving plate.
- Arrange the asparagus over the arugula-fennel mixture. Slice the strawberries and arrange on top.
- Toast the slices of baguette lightly and put a piece of the goats cheese on each slice so that the bread is largely covered (for me, this was a half-round slice with the ends tucked in). Toast the slices under the broiller/grill for a couple minutes so that the cheese melts and starts to brown slightly. Arrange over the salad and serve.