Pea shoot and purple basil salad

Serves 4

Both these leaves are in our vegetable gardens now. As simple as this salad sounds, it is sweet, nutty and aniseedy, all at the same time.

Not enough for a course by itself, it is nonetheless a beautiful accompaniment to other dishes, clean and palate-cleansing.

Purple basil has a unique flavour, tasting slightly of fennel, with ragged leaves – very beautiful to behold. Pea shoots have started to become widely available.

2 handfuls of pea shoots, washed very gently and patted dry with a clean dish cloth
1 bunch of purple basil. Unless very dirty, do not bother to wash, because it is extremely delicate
The zest of one lemon
1 tbsp finely grated Parmesan
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
The juice of half a lemon
2 tbsp mild tasting extra-virgin olive oil

Place the pea shoots and basil into a bowl and add the lemon zest and Parmesan. Season lightly with salt and pepper and squeeze over the lemon juice and olive oil.

Toss together very lightly using your fingertips and serve straight away; the leaves are too delicate to stay dressed for very long.

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