There are lots of irresponsibly caught prawns on the market, so try to buy the sustainable sea water variety; some of the best are the fresh red sea prawns at Waitrose. I like to recommend prawns in the shell because, as I always say, you can use the shells for a stock for soup which makes them better value for money. Thin sprue asparagus are ideal for a salad and normally a bit cheaper than the thicker asparagus.
My spring salad leaves are up and growing in the garden now, so I have gathered rocket, land cress, silver sorrel and some wild bittercress for this salad, along with some green herbs.
20 or so medium-sized, preferably fresh, sea water prawns in the shell
A tablespoon of vegetable or corn oil for brushing
250-300g sprue asparagus, trimmed of any woody stalks
A couple of handfuls of small salad leaves and green herbs, washed and dried
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the dressing
1tbsp white wine vinegar
2tsp Dijon or Tewksbury mustard
4-5tbsp extra virgin rapeseed or olive oil
Remove the heads from the prawns and peel away the shells, leaving the tails on. Make a cut down the back of the prawn with a sharp knife and rinse away the dark sac. Heat a ribbed griddle pan or heavy frying pan and brush with a little oil.
Season and cook the prawns for 2-3 minutes on each side on a high heat, then transfer to a plate. Meanwhile, cook the asparagus in boiling salted water for 2-3 minutes, or longer if thicker, and drain.
Whisk all of the ingredients together for the dressing and season. To serve, cut the asparagus in half and arrange with the salad leaves and prawns in serving bowls or on plates, and spoon the dressing over.