Asparagus and beetroot, and new potatoes with blue cheese: Alice Hart’s spring salads – recipes | Food

tLavish veggies and daring herb-infused dressings are your pals for alternating boring salads. A wide, pivoting peeler and a simple mandoline make any wafer-thin cutting of spring vegetables effortless. Think smashed spuds, propped up by stilton and tumbled by cool chicory and radishes. Or delicate ribbons of raw asparagus, beetroot and fennel, which will brine pleasantly in their sweet-tart mustard dressing to celebrate summer salad days.

Smashed new potato salad with blue cheese and chicory (photo above)

Delicious to delicious, as long as you like crispy, hot mashed potatoes, melting blue cheese, the crunch of chicory and radish and a sweet mustard dressing.

Preparation 25 minutes
Cook 40 minutes
Serves 4

500g baby new potatoesscrubbed
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and black pepper
2 tsp finely chopped rosemary leaves
blue cheeselike Stilton, crumbled
1 heaping tsp whole grain mustard
juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp honey
3 small cups
chicory (endive), bottoms removed and leaves separated
100g radishvery finely cut
4 spring onionstrimmed and finely chopped or shredded
2 tbsp chopped chives

Preheat oven to 200C (180C Fan)/390F/Gas 6. Place new potatoes in a pan of salted water, bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Drain well, place in a large roasting tin and gently mash or flatten the potatoes with the bottom of a heavy pan or pot. Drizzle over two tablespoons of oil, season generously, especially with pepper, and sprinkle with the rosemary. Roast for 15 minutes, sprinkle with half of the cheese and return to the oven for 10 minutes, until the cheese is bubbling and the potatoes are golden brown.

Meanwhile make the dressing. Mix the remaining four tablespoons of oil with the mustard, lemon juice and honey and season to taste. Arrange the chicory leaves and sliced ​​radishes on a platter, add the dressing, mashed potatoes, the rest of the cheese, spring onions and chives and toss gently to combine. Serve while the potatoes are still warm.

Salad of shaved asparagus, beetroot, fennel and wild rice with a sweet mustard dressing

Alice Hart's salad of shaved asparagus, beetroot, fennel and wild rice, with a sweet mustard dressing.
Salad of asparagus, beetroot, fennel and wild rice from Alice Hart

In this colorful salad, tender and fresh spring vegetables are carefully cut, but kept raw. Asparagus doesn’t always need to be steamed or roasted and neither do beetroots: the most important thing is to chop them finely enough. To shorten the cooking time of the wild rice, place in a heatproof bowl the night before, cover generously with boiling water and let it steep overnight. Drain and cook as below, but use only 300 ml of water and simmer for 20 minutes, until cooked through.

Preparation 15 minutes
Cook 1 hour
Serves 2 as main course, 4 as side dish

120g wild rice
salt and
black pepper
1 fennel bulb
trimmed, feathery leaves reserved
3 small beets
preferably a mix of colors such as candy and red
150g asparagus spearscropped bottoms
100g radishvery finely cut
½ cup of mustard cress

For the dressing
2 tsp maple syrup
½ small red onion
very finely cut
½ small clove of garliccrushed
1 tsp finely chopped dill
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 large lemon

4½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp Dijon mustard

Place the rice in a medium saucepan, add 450 ml water and bring to a boil. Add a pinch of salt, partially cover with a lid and simmer for 45 minutes, until the water has been absorbed and the black kernels are soft and begin to burst open, revealing their paler interior. Set aside, still covered, for about 15 minutes, during which time it will continue to cook through.

Meanwhile, prepare all the vegetables, preferably with a mandolin, but if that doesn’t work, use a very sharp knife and a rotating vegetable peeler. Halve the fennel bulb, remove any tough carrot wedges and cut into slices as thin as possible. Transfer to a large bowl and cover with cold water and a handful of ice cubes to shock the fennel slices to crisp and curl. Cut the fennel leaves and set aside.

Peel the skin of the beets and cut the beets into wafer-thin slices. Carefully use the vegetable peeler to trim the asparagus from the bottom and cut it into long, fine slices.

For the dressing, combine the maple syrup and two tablespoons of water with the red onion, garlic, dill, lemon zest and juice, extra virgin olive oil and mustard and season to taste.

Drain the fennel and pat it dry in a clean tea towel. Toss all the prepared vegetables into a large bowl, then add the warm rice and half of the dressing, stirring both to blend. Divide the salad between two large or four small plates, scatter over the chopped cress, drizzle with the remaining dressing and serve.

  • Recipes from The Magnificent Book of Vegetables: Eat a Rainbow Every Day by Alice Hart, published May 26 by Wellbeck Publishing for £26. To order a copy for £22.62, go to