Asparagus, Baby Potato, Rocket, Basil and Watercress Salad

With Roast Olives, Sultanas and Cherry Tomatoes


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


Appears in



By Peter Gordon

Published 2005

  • About

It’s the contrast of the tangy cherry tomatoes and sweet sultanas that lifts this salad into a tasty meal, almost more than the sum of its parts. I like just to toss it all together and let people help themselves – it’s a very casual meal that’s best followed by a bowl of fruit and ice cream.


  • 600 g cherry tomatoes
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 handfuls of plump olives, any type
  • 2 small handfuls of sultanas
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 500 g baby potatoes
  • salt
  • 600 g asparagus
  • large handful of rocket
  • large handful of watercress
  • large handful of basil leaves, roughly torn


Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas 4. Place the tomatoes in a large deep square non-reactive roasting dish.

Place the olive oil in a pan with the olives and cook over a moderate heat to blister them slightly, then add them to the tomatoes in the roasting dish, leaving the oil in the pan.

Add the sultanas to the pan and cook them – they will puff up a little, but make sure you don’t burn them. Add the oregano to the pan and stir in, then add the soy sauce and vinegar, and bring to the boil. Pour over the tomatoes and olives.

Bake in the oven until the first few tomatoes are just beginning to pop open. Take from the oven and leave to go cold. They can then be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Cook the potatoes in plenty of salted water until tender, then refresh in cold water and leave to cool. Steam or boil the asparagus until just tender and refresh in iced water, then snap the ends off. To do this, hold both ends of the asparagus 3–4 cm from both ends and bend in half. It will snap at the point that the stem becomes tough – anything below the snap can be discarded, the tip will be tender. Cut the potatoes into small wedges and cut the asparagus at an angle into 5 cm lengths.

To Serve

Place the rocket, watercress and basil in a large bowl with the potatoes and asparagus, and toss everything together. Spoon the tomato, olive and sultana mixture on top and get your guests to help themselves.