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Asparagus has a relatively short season in the northern hemisphere – usually around mid-April to June – and I always find myself eating it greedily during that time to make the most of it. This salad is fresh, tangy, creamy and crunchy and has a little heat to round it all off. While you can buy labneh, it’s never quite as delicious or as much fun as making your own. This quantity makes enough for two salads (or use the remainder as part of some mezze, or spread on toast with a drizzle of olive oil). If you store the leftovers in a clean, airtight container in the fridge, it will easily last a week.

500g (1lb 2oz/2 cups) Greek yogurt
300g (10½oz/1¼ cups) natural (plain) yogurt
1 tsp sea salt
1 lemon, zest and juice

400g (14oz) asparagus
240g (8½oz/1 cup) fresh (or frozen) peas
200g (7oz) sugar snap peas
2½ tbsp pumpkin seeds
2½ tbsp sunflower seeds
2 tbsp golden flaxseed
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
4 eggs, at room temperature
100g (3½oz) pea shoots

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp chilli flakes (crushed chilli)
Start the labneh the day before you plan to make the salad. Put the two yogurts, salt, lemon zest and juice into a large bowl and mix everything together well. Line another large bowl with a big piece of muslin (about 40 x 80cm/20 x 40in), folded to double thickness, and drape the corners over the edge of the bowl. Use a spatula to scoop the yogurt mix into the muslin.
Tie the muslin corners together, first to make a tight bundle around the yogurt, and then again to make a loop so that you can hang up the bundle. I find a kitchen cupboard handle works well for this or you could use your kitchen tap; just make sure it’s in a cool spot out of direct sunlight. Place a bowl underneath to catch the whey and juice that will start to drip. And that’s it. Leave it to do its thing overnight, or for 6–8 hours. The longer you leave it, the firmer it will get.
When you are ready to make the salad, preheat the oven to 190°C/170°C fan/375°F/gas mark 5 and bring a large pan of water to the boil with a steamer basket and lid.
Snap the asparagus ends off at their natural breaking point. Slice the thicker stems in half lengthways and leave the thinner ones whole. Steam for 1 minute before adding the peas and sugar snaps. Continue to steam for another 3–4 minutes. Remove and plunge into a large bowl of iced water. This will stop the veg cooking and preserve the amazing shades of green.
Line a roasting tin with baking parchment. Scatter all the seeds into the tin and pop it into the oven for 7 minutes. Then take the tin out and give it a shake to move the seeds around; return to the oven for another 5 minutes. The seeds should turn a lovely golden brown and the pumpkin seeds will have started to pop open. Remove and set aside to cool.
Bring another large deep pan of water to the boil and add the white wine vinegar. Crack each egg into a little cup or ramekin (four in total). Once the water has come to the boil, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Gently swirl the water with a spoon to make a vortex in the middle. Quickly add an egg to the side of the pan – the water will pull it into the middle. Repeat with the other eggs until they are all in – you need to do this as quickly as possible so they cook evenly!
Let the eggs gently poach for 3 minutes for a runny yolk. Carefully lift them out with a slotted spoon and drain on some paper towel.
Take a large serving plate and scatter it with the pea shoots. Drain the vegetables and transfer them to a mixing bowl. Add the ingredients for the dressing, season to taste, and mix it all together with your hands to coat the vegetables. Carefully arrange the veg on top of the peashoots. Crumble over half the lemon labneh and lay the poached eggs on top.
Finally scatter over the toasted seeds and drizzle over any dressing left in the bowl from the veg. Serve with another drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of chilli flakes.


The peashoots, steamed veg, toasted seeds and dressing make a great vegan salad in their own right.

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