A refreshing spring salad that’s best when made with fresh ingredients.
Adapted from “A Year in My Kitchen” by Skye Gyngell.
Wash the spinach thoroughly in several charges of cold water. Place in a large pan with just the water clinging to the leaves after washing and cook over high heat until just wilted. This takes very little time — no longer than a minute — don’t overcook it. Drain the spinach and set aside to cool.
To prepare the fennel, slice off the base and remove the fibrous outer leaves, then cut the bulb in half lengthwise. Place each half, cut side down, on a cutting board and cut lengthwise into fine shards, using a sharp knife—the slices should be almost paper-thin.
Using a sharp knife, slice the spears finely lengthwise. (Shaved raw asparagus has an interesting texture and excellent taste.)
Squeeze out as much moisture from the cooled spinach as possible (but don’t be so brutal that you bruise the leaves). Put the spinach into a large bowl and season with a little salt and pepper. Add the olive oil and toss through with your hands — the spinach will absorb the oil and take on a luxurious, glossy quality.
Add the fennel shards, asparagus, lemon zest, Parmesan, and lemon juice. Toss very gently with your fingertips — you want to create a feeling of space and air. Taste for seasoning, adding a little more salt if needed. Pile the salad onto plates and serve.