I don’t often grill or char vegetables; gentle cooking methods are considered most health supportive, as they preserve nutrients.
But once in a while it is a lovely alternative to steaming, and the grill marks do add a note of festivity. If you cannot find fresh tarragon, use finely chopped, fresh marjoram or thyme, and add a pinch of ground aniseed. You can make the dressing and grill the vegetables in advance, but keep the elements separate until serving.
Steam the asparagus until just tender. Refresh under cold running water and blot dry with kitchen paper.
Heat a griddle pan until hot. Toss the courgette slices and asparagus spears in a little grapeseed oil and place on the griddle in such a way as to achieve the most attractive grill pattern (allowing for one turn to create a criss-cross effect).
Turn each courgette slice once, and the asparagus spears a couple of times, making sure you don’t turn or move the vegetables too early, or you may not get proper grill marks. A few minutes on each side should be about right. Set aside and keep warm. (Alternatively, you can cook the vegetables on a barbecue.)
Meanwhile, mash the garlic with a pinch of coarse sea salt, using a pestle and mortar. Scrape into a glass jar, add the oil, vinegar and mustard with some pepper, screw the lid on tightly and shake until the dressing is mixed well and emulsified. Stir in the herbs.
Toss the griddled vegetables in the dressing and arrange on a serving dish. Scatter over all the toasted almonds and serve immediately.
Good Better Green
by Zita Steyn (Quadrille £16.99) Photography: Nassima Rothacker.
Visit our barbecue section for more great recipe ideas.