Asparagus salad with pine nut and puffed wild rice granola

By Sam Dinsdale

Featured in Capital #80
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Forget chestnuts roasting on a open fire, pine nuts in the oven are the real deal. This recipe will prove it.

Asparagus salad

2 bunches asparagus
4 Tbsp good olive oil
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
Zest and juice of ½ lime
Salt and peppe

  1. Cut the tough ends off and trim off the tips. Ends in the bin; set tips aside.
  2. Bring a pot of salted water to the boil and get two bowls of iced water ready.
  3. While the water is coming to a boil, take a peeler (or a mandolin, but be careful) and thinly slice the spears. Place the shavings in one of the bowls of iced water and chill in the fridge until needed.
  4. Once the water is boiling, cook the tips for a couple of minutes, until tender. Refresh in the iced water.
  5. Make the vinaigrette by putting the olive oil, vinegar, zest, juice, salt and pepper in a jar. Make sure the lid is closed firmly and shake until emulsified.

Roasted pine nut puree

200g pine nuts
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar

  1. In a preheated 180C oven, roast the pine nuts on a tray for about 4–5 minutes until lightly golden. Then place in a saucepan with the salt, sugar, and enough water to cover. Simmer until the pine nuts can be squished without too much force – you may need to top up the water during cooking.
  2. Once the pine nuts are squishable, drain any excess water and reserve the liquid. Place the nuts in a blender and add in about 2–3 tablespoons of the cooking water. Blitz until smooth.

Pine nut granola

1 cup of canola oil
70g wild or black rice
50g pine nuts, lightly toasted and roughly chopped
50g honey
1 tsp olive oil
Zest of 1 lime

  1. Place the oil in a pot and bring to 150C. Check to see if the oil is hot enough by dropping in a few grains. If they puff instantly, you’re good to go.
  2. Have a plate with some paper towels at the ready to drain the rice post frying. It is best to fry the rice in two batches as you can scoop it out of the pan more easily. Once the rice is puffed, scoop out with a rice skimmer or small sieve. Place on paper towel and give it a quick season while still warm.
  3. Place the drained rice in a mixing bowl with the pine nuts. Warm the honey until liquid and pour into the bowl.
  4. Drizzle in the olive oil, season with salt, and give a good mix to coat the rice.
  5. Spread over an oven tray lined with baking paper and bake at 180C for 5 mins. Take out of the oven and sprinkle with fine lime zest while still warm. Set aside to cool.

To finish

  1. Drain the shaved and blanched asparagus and gently shake out the excess water.
  2. Dress with the vinaigrette, and season lightly with salt and pepper.
  3. Spoon the pine nut puree on to a shallow dish then arrange the bundles of the shavings with the tips of asparagus on top.
  4. Break up the granola into clumps and scatter over the asparagus.
  5. Finish with some more lime zest and drizzle with a couple of teaspoons of vinaigrette.


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