Grilled wild & regular asparagus with sweet miso dressing, watercress, Cape gooseberries & macadamia nuts

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Appears in

Fusion: A Culinary Journey


By Peter Gordon

Published 2010

  • About

This incredibly simple salad makes for a lovely refreshing course, although it’s also great when served as part of a multi-course meal. When we started shooting this book in June it coincided with the end of the season for what is called (in restaurant speak) wild asparagus. In the photo they’re the thin green stems with what looks like a wheat head on them. The reality is that there is actually asparagus which only grows wild but it is becoming quite rare. In the UK it’s only found in a few sites in Cornwall and a handful of other areas. However, for this recipe, any of the various asparagus will work. If you buy asparagus that is fat stemmed and firm, then you’ll need to slice the ends off and peel the green stem which will be quite fibrous. If you buy thinner stems then you can simply bend them at their base ends until they snap - no need to peel them. Macadamia nuts originated in Australia, but have spread around the world and in Hawaii they’re a huge attraction for the tourist dollar. Cape gooseberries, or physalis, are South American in origin and are a wonderful addition to a salad for their colour and their acidic sweet flavour.


  • 500-600 g asparagus
  • 45 ml (3 Tbsp) virgin rapeseed oil or extra virgin olive oil
  • a handful of wild asparagus
  • 30 ml (2 Tbsp) sweet white miso (shiro miso)
  • 45 ml (3 Tbsp) lemon or lime juice
  • 12 Cape gooseberries
  • a handful of macadamia nuts, lightly toasted
  • 2 handfuls watercress, picked over to remove any bad leaves or woody stems


Prepare the asparagus depending on its size as described on the left. Toss it with 1 Tablespoon of the oil, some salt and pepper. Heat up a skillet, heavy pan or barbecue and when it’s hot place the asparagus on. If the spears are thin they’ll need barely 30 seconds in total to cook, if fatter then around 1½ minutes, turning them as they colour. They should still be a little undercooked on the inside.

At the same time, bring a pot of salted water to the boil and add the wild asparagus. Boil for 40 seconds, then drain and refresh in cold water for a minute.

In a small bowl, whisk the miso with the lemon or lime juice, then mix in the remaining rapeseed oil and season with salt and pepper.

Cut the Cape gooseberries in half, and roughly chop or slice the macadamia nuts.

To Serve

Divide two-thirds of the asparagus between four plates and lay the wild asparagus on top. Place the remaining asparagus on top, drizzle with the dressing then scatter with the Cape gooseberries, nuts and watercress. Eat straight away so that the watercress doesn’t wilt.