For the salad

For the dressing


  • STEP 1

    When the artichokes are trimmed, find a pan wide enough to hold them in a single layer. Squeeze in juice from a lemon half and half-fill with cold water. Add 2 tbsp olive oil, the spices, thyme, vinegar, artichokes and a generous pinch of salt. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for about 15 mins until soft. Turn off the heat and allow to cool (see tips, below).

  • STEP 2

    Prepare the asparagus. First, cut off the woody ends, then use a swivel blade peeler to trim the ends, rotating them as you go so they end up the same thickness as the tips.

  • STEP 3

    Bring a large pan of salted water to a rolling boil. Cook the asparagus for 2 mins, then drain and tip straight into heavily iced water. Leave until completely cool, drain again, then set aside.

  • STEP 4

    To make the dressing, heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan , then gently cook the red onion for 5 mins until soft. Turn off the heat stir in the spring onion and chives, then tip into a jug. Drizzle the rest of the oil and the vinegar into the dressing, then season to taste.

  • STEP 5

    Get the vegetables ready. Drain the artichokes, then cut each into 6 wedges. Slice each asparagus on the angle into 3 pieces.

  • STEP 6

    Wipe out the dressing pan and heat the remaining olive oil. Fry the asparagus with some seasoning until shiny and starting to colour, then scoop onto a plate. Place the pan back on the heat, then cook the artichoke wedges until they start to brown. Turn off the heat and you are ready to plate up.

  • STEP 7

    Spoon a puddle of dressing into the centre of each plate. Balance the pieces of asparagus up against each other to circle the dressing. Arrange the artichokes among the asparagus so they’re evenly distributed over the plate. Scatter over the salad leaves and drizzle over the remaining dressing.


Preparing the artichokes involves a bit of work but they can be cooked and left in the cooking liquid up to two days before. The asparagus can be boiled and chilled the day before and both vegetables can be chopped, ready for frying, several hours before serving. As the dressing contains onion, it is best made just one hour before serving.


Micro-leaves (also known as micro-herbs) are tiny little herb and salad leaf shoots. Their intense flavour lifts warm vegetable dishes like this and adds another element to the finished dish. Micro-leaves are now available from some supermarkets, but if you can’t find them, scatter over a few wild rocket leaves or tender sprigs of watercress.


When you prepare artichokes, the metallic flavour of the raw vegetable is transferred to your fingers. Scrub your hands well afterwards, as the flavour is rather unpleasant.


To test if the artichoke is cooked, insert a skewer or the point of a small knife into the centre – there should be very little resistance. If it feels a little hard, keep simmering; check again after each minute or so.


Once cut, artichokes oxidise very quickly, which makes them discolour. So keep on rubbing the green flesh with lemon to stop this happening, especially the inner part of the artichoke once you have removed the hairy fibres. In my restaurant kitchens, we keep the uncooked, prepared artichokes in water with vitamin C powder (ascorbic acid) added – this doesn’t flavour the water – but a squeezed lemon works just as well.


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