Roast Red Onion, Chicory, Croûton & Asparagus, Salad

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Preparation info

  • For

    Six

    Starter-Size Salads
    • Difficulty

      Medium

Appears in

The Sugar Club Cookbook

By Peter Gordon

Published 1997

  • About

This is a perfect summer salad full of simple flavours and textures. The roast red onions are useful to have around and keep for up to a week in the fridge. Depending on what you’re using them for you can add an assortment of extra flavours, such as chillies, herbs or garlic. Use any bread for the croûtons and cut them into the shape you want; here I’ve suggested wholemeal.

Ingredients

  • 3 medium-sized red onions, peeled and sliced into 5mm (⅕in) rings
  • 150ml (5fl oz) extra virgin olive oil
  • 100ml (fl oz) balsamic vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 6 slices stale bread, crust removed and cut into rectangles
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 heads of chicory
  • 24 asparagus stems

Method

Turn the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Put the sliced onions, extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper into a ceramic ovenproof dish and seal tightly with foil. Use a dish that’s just large enough to hold the onions. Bake in the oven for 1 hour, remove the foil and cook for another 15 minutes, then remove and cool completely. Drop the temperature to 150°C/300°F/Gas 2 and lay the bread slices on a baking sheet. Brush them with the olive oil and bake until golden on both sides, then remove from the oven to cool.

Cut 2cm (¾in) from the base of each chicory head and separate the leaves, wash and drain. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Holding both ends of each asparagus stem, bend them towards each other until the stem snaps. Discard the lower end (or use in a vegetable stock). Drop the asparagus tips in the boiling water, return to the boil and cook for 1 minute. Drain and refresh in cold water. Mix the onions and their cooking juices, the chicory and asparagus together. Serve on a plate with the croûtons on top.