Raw Asparagus & Black Sesame Salad

This is a recipe to make with thick stalks of young British asparagus in late April - mid June when they're in season. They hold their shape better (making for easier ribbon peeling) and have a more delicate flavour than imported varieties which are flown in from as far away as South America. 

When asparagus isn't in season, try making this recipe with lightly blanched green beans, or steamed purple sprouting broccoli instead. 

Serves 4 as a side 

1 banana shallot, finely chopped 

juice of 1 lemon 

3/4 teaspoon caster sugar 

1/8 teaspoon salt 

250g bunch of asparagus, peeled into ribbons 

1 tablespoon black sesame seeds, toasted 

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil 

leaves from 1/2 small bunch parsley, finely chopped 

30g parmesan, finely grated 

In a mixing bowl, combine the shallot with the lemon juice, sugar and salt. Stir to coat every piece of shallot and set aside to lightly pickle for 15 minutes. 

Toss the asparagus ribbons into the shallot mixture with the remaining ingredients. Allow the flavours to mingle in the bowl for 15 minutes before transferring to a plate to serve.