The asparagus tart is delicious served with a green salad – and salad leaves are quick and easy to grow at home. You don't need a big garden – just a couple of pots on the patio or windowsill will provide you with a constant supply of fresh leaves.
There are dozens of different salad varieties to choose from, including Little Gem (a crunchy green lettuce) and Lollo Rosso (a frilly red lettuce). Lettuce is usually served cold, drizzled with vinaigrette dressing made with three parts olive oil to one part white wine or balsamic vinegar. Ring the changes by adding different ingredients to the dressing: mustard, honey, lemon juice, crushed garlic or finely chopped herbs such as basil, parsley or chives are all delicious.
Adding extras to your leaves can make a salad more interesting. Try caraway seeds or toasted sunflower seeds with chopped apples. Pears work well, too, especially if combined with blue cheese, such as Stilton, crumbled over the top.
For salad Niçoise, add sliced hard-boiled eggs, green beans, anchovies and tuna to crisp, green Cos lettuce leaves. A classic Caesar salad also makes good use of Cos lettuce and anchovies, drizzled with a creamy, mayonnaise dressing and topped with chopped cooked chicken, Parmesan cheese and croutons.
For something completely different, though, why not serve lettuce hot? Little Gems can be halved, brushed with oil, seasoned with salt and pepper and grilled on a barbeque. And iceberg lettuce can be stir-fried in sesame oil with garlic, red chilli, finely chopped root ginger and a dash of soy sauce.