Three salad recipes to make you think again about salads

food saladThree tips in the art of salad making
1 The dressings. Dressings are, arguably, what makes a salad a salad. An addictive combination of sour (usually provided by vinegar or citrus), and fat, perhaps cranked up further still by some form of sweetness. Jane has used olive oil as the fat in all these recipes; the sours are provided by vinegars, lemon juice or pomegranate molasses. Sweetness comes from the molasses again, maple syrup and also the ingredients: squash, piquillo peppers and even radicchio, the bitterness of which softens and sweetens when it is grilled.

2 Architecture. These salads are a wonderful adventure of textures, shapes and colours: crunchy jerusalem artichokes and crisp white chicory lie next to soft roasted sprouts and kale. Fresh green rocket is layered into soft and moreish squash and bread. Charred wedges of radicchio are topped with little cubes of beetroot and round balls of couscous.

3 Toppers. The chef Skye Gyngell calls these “top hats”: the last detail you add to an outfit before it is ready to go out in public. In a dish, they provide a final flourish of flavour and texture. In these recipes they come from parmesan slithers and parsley, roasted seeds and capers, and pomegranate seeds, with pine nuts, mint and dill.

Squash ‘panzanella’

Serves 6
600g squash, peeled and cut into 1-2cm chunks
3 tbsp olive oil, plus more for drizzling
250g stale ciabatta, ripped into 2-3cm pieces
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 red chilli, finely chopped 
2 sprigs rosemary, finely chopped 
1 red onion, finely sliced 
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp maple syrup
100g tinned piquillo peppers, sliced 
1 tbsp capers, drained and washed
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds, toasted
50g rocket 
Salt and black pepper

1 Preheat the oven to 170C/335F/gas mark 3½. Toss the squash pieces in 1 tablespoon of olive oil, season and roast in a baking tray for about 30 minutes or until just tender. Remove and add the bread to the roasting tray.

2 Mix the garlic, chilli and rosemary with 2 tablespoons of olive olive oil. Drizzle over the bread and squash. Return to the oven for 5 minutes. Remove and allow to cool.

3 While the squash is cooking, mix the sliced red onion with the vinegar and maple syrup. Set to one side.

4 Toss the seasoned squash and bread with the onion mix, piquillo peppers, capers and pumpkin seeds.

5 Layer the salad on a serving plate with the rocket leaves and drizzle with good olive oil.

Radicchio, beetroot and giant couscous salad

If you are leaving out the pomegranate molasses, use a little lemon juice in its place for sourness.

Serves 6
2 heads radicchio, cut into fine wedges
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp pomegranate molasses
1 garlic clove, crushed 
3 large beetroot, cooked, cut into 2cm chunks
200g giant couscous, cooked
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar 
Seeds from half a pomegranate
2 tbsp pine nuts, toasted 
70g goat’s cheese, crumbled
1 tbsp mint and dill, chopped
Salt and black pepper

1 Heat a griddle and wilt the radicchio wedges on it in batches. In a large bowl, whisk 1 tablespoon of oil with the molasses and garlic. When the radicchio comes off the griddle, toss through the dressing, adding lots of seasoning.

2 Arrange the radicchio on a serving plate, top with the beetroot and couscous. Drizzle with oil and vinegar, season, and sprinkle with the remaining ingredients.

Sprout and kale salad

Serves 6
400g sprouts, trimmed and halved
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp maple syrup
100g kale, stemmed, roughly shredded
300g jerusalem artichokes, peeled 
1 tbsp lemon juice 
100g button mushrooms 
2 heads white chicory
1 tbsp parsley, roughly chopped
Truffle oil, for drizzling
25g parmesan slivers 
Salt and black pepper

1 Preheat the oven to 160C/325F/gas mark 3. Toss the sprouts in 1 tablespoon of oil and maple syrup. Season and put on a roasting tray in the oven for 15 minutes. After that, check the sprouts and give the tray a shake. Place the kale on top of the sprouts and roast for another 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

2 Slice the artichokes very thinly and toss in the lemon juice. Slice the mushrooms. Separate the heads of chicory into its leaves. Toss all three together with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and season. Arrange half on a serving plate, top with the kale and sprouts, then sprinkle on the other half.

3 Finish with a drizzle of truffle oil and sprinkle with parsley and parmesan.

 

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