English Garden Salad with Watercress Dressing

I remember I used to half believe and wholly play with fairies when I was a child. What heaven can be more real than to retain the spirit-world of childhood, tempered and balanced by knowledge and common-sense. -Beatrix Potter

I first made this salad for our Beatrix Potter episode of Fiction Kitchen because it was as green as a Lancashire countryside and full of green garden vegetables adored by little rabbits. The new potatoes, asparagus and peas are quintessentially spring, and I fail to find anything more fresh, gentle, or English than watercress.

English Garden Salad with Watercress Dressing

Adapted from BBC Good Food

Serves 4

  • 1 pound new potatoes, washed and halved or quartered
  • 1 small bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
  • large handful snap peas
  • olive oil
  • 6 ounces butter lettuce (one bag or one small head rinsed and chopped)
  • 4 ounces smoked salmon
  • 4 ounces goat cheese

For the dressing

  • 1 small bunch watercress
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Toss potatoes with olive oil and distribute in a single layer on a roasting pan. Roast for about 30 minutes, tossing halfway through, checking for doneness at about 25. With about 7 minutes left to go, add the asparagus in a layer over the top, and with 3 minutes left to go add in the peas (if this sounds like a lot of temporal math, it doesn’t have to be precise. The potatoes being well cooked is the most important thing, and the asparagus and peas just need a little time to cook).

While roasting, blend together all dressing ingredients in a food processor.

Divide lettuce between 4 plates, and divide the roasted vegetables on top while still warm. Sprinkle with smoked salmon and goat cheese, and drizzle with watercress dressing.

Recipe for Fiction Kitchen Episode 56: PETER RABBIT & OTHER BEATRIX POTTER TALES in which Carrie and Diana discuss Beatrix Potter books, and lots of English countryside food, perfect for little rabbits.