I think this recipe would work as a really lovely starter at a dinner party or as a nice simple lunch, maybe served with some crusty bread to spread the cheese on. I really love watercress and use it a lot in my salads, not only because it is so pretty and strong in flavour (holding its own with strong cheese and lemon dressing) but also because it is super healthy.
I think presenting a piece of grilled cheese like this is a little “70’s dinner party” but it still works in a modern setting, especially mixed with asparagus and peas. You could also present this with chunks of soft set goats cheese mixed into the salad if you didn’t like the sliced cheese presentation.
Goats Cheese is very low in lactose so it is perfect for people like me who suffer with dairy products!
Asparagus is nearing the end of its season however you can still buy it fresh in the shops, probably for the next month or so! If you really can’t get it then don’t buy the awful canned asparagus, instead why not make it more of a salad by using thinly cut cucumber or even some steamed tenderstem broccoli.
I always buy frozen peas, they are frozen very soon after being picked and they only need a very quick boil or steam to cook them through. I literally give them 1 minute in the pan!
To serve 2:
6-10 Spears of Asparagus (depending on thickness)
100g Garden Peas (roughly 1 cup)
2 Large handfuls Watercress
2 slices of Goats Cheese, approx 1 inch thick
1 tblspn Olive Oil
Small Bunch Mint
Peel the rough edges off the asparagus and then chop the tips off. Slice the stalks in half length ways and place in a steamer (or boil in hot water) with the peas and the asparagus tips. Cook for 2 minutes until tender but still al dente. Drain the veg then run it under cold water or place into a bowl of ice water to cool it down and keep it bright green.
Juice the lemon into a bowl and finely chop the mint then add that in with the olive oil and black pepper. Give it a good whisk and set it to one side.
Wash your watercress throughly then pile up on two plates. Scatter the peas and asparagus around the watercress making sure everyone gets an even amount of the asparagus tips (my favourite part!).
Place the sliced of cheese under a hot grill for 5-6 minutes until golden brown and starting to bubble.
Place the cheese in the middle of the salad and pour over the dressing then serve while the cheese is still hot!