1 bunch fresh asparagus
olive oil, for cooking
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
salt and freshly ground
black pepper, to season
juice and zest of half a lemon
3-4 cups small spinach leaves
70g feta cheese (we used Food Snob Bulgarian Sheep Feta)
handful of flaked almonds or toasted pine nuts
For the Balsamic Roasted Strawberries
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp olive oil (we used Alfa One Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
300g strawberries, hulled and cut into halves or quarters
For the Spicy Strawberry Dressing
250g strawberries, hulled
2 tbsp honey or rice syrup (we used Chantal Organics Rice Syrup)
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp water
2 tbsp sweet almond oil (we used Olivado Extra Virgin Sweet Almond Oil)
½ tsp balsamic vinegar
¼ tsp chilli flakes
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to season
Wash and trim the asparagus and cut each spear into three pieces. Drizzle a little olive oil in a pan on moderate to low heat. Add the asparagus and toss to lightly fry. Add the garlic and season with salt and pepper. Then add the lemon juice and allow the liquid to reduce. Continue to toss until the asparagus is tender. Depending on the thickness of the spears you may need to add a little water. Set the cooked asparagus aside to cool.
Wash and drain the spinach leaves and lay out on a serving platter. Slice the avocado and arrange with the asparagus pieces on top. Crumble the feta and sprinkle on top. Scatter with the nuts and the lemon zest.
For the Balsamic Roasted Strawberries Combine the honey, olive oil and balsamic vinegar in a medium-sized pan. Heat gently until just boiling, then lower the heat and simmer, reducing the liquid for several minutes before adding the strawberries. Cook the strawberries for 5 to 10 minutes, until the liquid is reduced, turning them often so they are coated in the liquid. Spoon into a sealable container. Store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Makes approximately ½ cup.
For the Spicy Strawberry Dressing Place the strawberries in a small pot and use a potato masher to roughly mash them. Add the honey or rice syrup, cider vinegar and water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, add the almond oil and balsamic vinegar and continue to simmer for a few more minutes. Add the chilli flakes and season with salt and pepper. Simmer for several more minutes before removing from the heat and mashing again. Makes approximately 1 ¼ cups of dressing.
Dot the salad with Balsamic Roasted Strawberries and serve with Spicy Strawberry Dressing.