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Go SLOW in the kitchen

River Cottage chef Gelf Alderson shares a seasonal recipe to celebrate seasonal, local, organic and wild food
Roast Asparagus, Feta, Almonds and Sourdough Croutons

This article first appeared in our World Environment Day issue of My Green Pod Magazine, published 05 June 2024. Click here to subscribe to our digital edition and get each issue delivered straight to your inbox

At River Cottage, our biggest goal is to teach and inspire people to grow, source and cook food in ways that enrich lives, increase wellbeing and connect people more closely to natural and ethical sources of food.

We have a SLOW (seasonal, local, organic and wild) approach to sourcing and using ingredients, and across our East Devon farm, award-winning cookery school and café we invite guests to absorb this food philosophy for themselves.

Here on the farm we grow our own organic ingredients, look after our own livestock and work closely with local suppliers who share our values as we teach, feed and inspire guests from all over the world.

Food integrity, good health and sustainability are at the heart of what we do.

We’ve enjoyed exploring fresh new dishes that showcase the spoils of the season; the recipe below features spring asparagus and offers a low-waste solution for your stale sourdough!

Roast Asparagus, Feta, Almonds and Sourdough Croutons

Taken from River Cottage Great Salads, by Gelf Alderson

Asparagus is one of the first signs of spring: as the weather warms slightly the brilliant green spears start to poke through the earth.

Typically, the short asparagus season ends around the summer solstice, so the last of the crop heralds the start of summer.

For this salad the spears are roasted to enhance their amazing flavour while retaining a good crunch.


  • 2 slices slightly stale sourdough or good-quality wholemeal bread, crusts removed
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 100g almonds (skin on), roughly chopped
  • About 500g asparagus (at least 16 spears)
  • 1 little gem lettuce, divided into leaves
  • 150g good-quality feta
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Sea salt and black pepper



  • Preheat the oven to 230ºC/Fan 210ºC/Gas 8. Cut the bread into 1cm cubes and place in a bowl with 2 tbsp of the olive oil and some salt and pepper. Toss to coat.
  • Scatter the bread cubes on a baking tray and toast in the oven for 5 minutes until golden brown and crunchy. Tip the croutons on to a plate and allow to cool.
  • Spread the chopped almonds out on the baking tray and toast in the oven for 3 minutes, then set aside to cool.
  • Break off the tough ends of the asparagus and cut the spears in half on the diagonal. Place on a baking tray, trickle over the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  • Roast the asparagus in the oven for 4 minutes, then remove and set aside for a few minutes to cool slightly.
  • Transfer the roasted asparagus to a large bowl and add the almonds, leaves and croutons. Crumble in the feta, then trickle over the lemon juice. Add a touch more seasoning if you feel it needs it. Serve.


Once the asparagus season is over, grill plump spring onions instead.

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