Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Crab, asparagus and pistachio salad with lemon and basil dressing

I made this lovely light salad for lunch on the bank holiday weekend just gone, and it was so delicious that I thought I'd add the recipe to my blog. I like using pistachios for this, as they are my favourite nut, and they give the salad a bit of crunch. You could swap them for other nuts or seeds if you prefer- toasted almonds would work well. This recipe is packed full of healthy things (asparagus, pistachios, crab) so it's good for you too! It would also make a nice starter for a meal too, as it's not too heavy.

Serves 4:

1 bunch of asparagus
7 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp lemon juice
6 basil leaves
1 finely chopped shallot or small onion
small bunch of parsley
bag of salad leaves (baby leaf will work, or pea shoots)
handful of pistachio nuts
1 pound crab meat (approx 2 crabs)
2 avocados, sliced.
salt and pepper

Bring a saucepan of salted water to the boil. Fill a separate bowl with ice water. Blanch the asparagus for about 5 mins. Keep an eye on it, because it's easy to overcook- you want it to still have a bit of a bite to it. As soon as the asparagus it down scoop it out and plunge it straight into the prepared ice water. Once it's cooled, drain and put to one side in a bowl.

Blend the olive oil, lemon juice, basil, shallot and half the parsley in a blender if you have one. If not, you can chop the herbs and shallots as finely as possible and mix it all together- use a pestle and mortar if you have one to really mash it all together. Season it, and see how it tastes- you can alter the recipe to your own taste (e.g add more basil if you like).

Add the salad leaves, pistachios and the left over parsley to the asparagus. Add half of the dressing and toss together. Then add the crab (reserving the claws) and the sliced avocado. Pour over the remaining dressing, season well with salt and pepper, and toss together again. Serve in plates or bowls, and top each serving with a crab claw. I like to serve mine with some nice crusty warm bread and butter, and perhaps a bit of mayonnaise on the side too.

Ideally, enjoy outside, with a glass of chilled, crisp white wine!

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