Tag Archives: salad

Asian-Inspired Salad with Asparagus and Crayfish

The 58th of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, this is the most scrumptious of salads: zingingly fabulous!

Salad days are here – yippppeee and lordy, lordy, lordy, this salad is spectacular: it’s zingy and fresh and its fabulous tastes and textures demand your attention. Eat it by itself or serve with fish: terikayi tuna is ideal but also, try this salad on the side of a lovely roasted salmon fillet – maybe with a wedge of lime on the side. I’ve changed the original recipe by adding a few extra ingredients, most notably the crayfish tails (they were on offer) but equally you could add prawns, smoked salmon or even hot, seared scallops. Anyway, it’s just lovely! I’ve never understood why people think salad is boring – this one will knock your socks off – give it a go!

Serves 2 (this is based on the quantities used to make up the marinade – if you’re creating salad for more people, just increase the quantities accordingly).

What you need…

for the salad

A selection of salad leaves: handfuls each of red chicory, rocket, spinach and baby gem work well but really, it’s whatever takes your fancy and is in the fridge

5cm chunk of cucumber, peeled and chopped

3 medium tomatoes, chopped

A handful of mint leaves, torn

A handful of coriander, chopped

250g asparagus, trimmed

125g crayfish tails or prawns (optional)

for the salad dressing

1 lime, juice only

2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

1 dessertspoon fresh ginger, grated

1 tablespoon palm sugar

2 tablespoons fish sauce

3 tablespoons soy sauce (or Tamari if you would prefer gluten-free)

1 red bird eye chilli, finely chopped

1 tablespoon mint leaves, chopped

1 tablespoon coriander leaves, chopped

Tip…

If you’re not too sure about the kick of the chilli, use just half, rather than a whole one

What to do…

Pop the asparagus into boiling, water and cook for 2 minutes until al dente. Drain, refresh with cold water and drain again. Set aside to cool.

Put all your salad dressing ingredients into a screw-topped jar, tighten the lid and shake vigorously until mixed thoroughly together.

When you’re ready to eat, take a large pretty bowl, chuck in your cucumber, tomatoes, all your salad leaves, herbs, asparagus and crayfish tails . Tip over the dressing and mix together. That’s it! Serve and enjoy this absolutely wonderful salad with a lovely crisp dry white wine.  And relax….

Inspired by…

Watching James Martin and Mary Berry, separately, and then doing my own thing.

How easy…

Well, it’s salad so it’s not hard is it?!

 

New York Caesars Salad, My Way

The 51st of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, this is one sassy salad!

Many years ago I had a marketing job that meant, in the name of work, I ate out a lot. And I mean a lot. There was also the occasional overseas trips undertaken and twice I was lucky enough to visit New York on business.  Labelled a ‘jolly’, the trip was as much about food as it was the thrills of Manhattan: huge hotel breakfasts followed by large, leisurely lunches and obscenely over-indulgent dinners punctuated each day (they don’t make jobs like this anymore!) There’s only so much a girl can eat even if the food is amazing so I quickly took to choosing Caesars Salad as my default choice for lunch, being the perfect foil for the inevitable heavy, rich dinners that I knew would follow. I’ve never had a Caesars Salad as good as those I enjoyed in New York and so ended up developing my own version. I have no idea how close to the authentic recipe mine is but it’s pretty close to those savoured in Manhattan. It’s light but edgy – salad with attitude I’d say – and really enlivening – give it a go!

Serves 2

What you need…

4 good-sized slices back bacon

300g mixed salad leaves (including iceberg for the crunch), torn

A good handful of freshly grated Parmesan

for the croutons

1 slice bread from a large loaf

50g butter

for the dressing

60ml olive oil

30ml white wine vinegar

3 anchovies

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Sea salt and black pepper to season

What to do…

For the croutons, cut bread roughly into 1cm squares and pop into a bowl with the butter and then into the microwave for 1 minute.  Stir to make sure the butter is evenly distributed and pop back in for another 40 seconds. Repeat this last process until the croutons are golden and crispy. In my microwave, I do 3 x 40 seconds.

(N.B. microwave times may vary – I rarely use a microwave so ours is old and pretty inferior so yours may do the job much quicker).

Set the croutons aside to cool.

Dry-fry the bacon until its crispy. Remove from the pan and as soon as it’s cool enough to handle, chop it up into bite-sized pieces (I use scissors for this – it’s quicker than a knife for me). Put the chopped pieces on kitchen paper to absorb the moisture whilst the bacon cools.

In a jam jar, chuck all the dressing ingredients in together, screw on the lid and shake like mad to mix everything together and break down the anchovies.

When you are ready to serve, tip your salad leaves into a large roomy salad bowl and throw in the bacon. Add half the Parmesan and then the dressing. Toss everything together.  Either divide into two bowls or serve to the table in the salad bowl. Whichever way, scatter over more Parmesan and finally, the croutons. Enjoy! It really is a wonderful salad!

Serving suggestion…

I like it on it’s own as a main course, but it also works well served with steak or as a starter, perhaps with garlic bread.

Tip…

If you don’t fancy using a microwave, you can fry croutons in oil and a little butter or brush/toss them with oil and then bake or grill them – whichever suits you best.

Inspired by…

New York!

How easy…

Ever so!

Pomegranate, Tarragon and Maple Syrup Salad Dressing with Prawns

Creating unusual salads to accompany our many summer barbecues is something that I love to do and we have a long and varied list from which to choose from, most of which promise to convert even the hardened anti-saladist!!!! This one is fast becoming the favourite for this season – piquant, zesty, fresh and abundant in contrasting but complementary summer flavours – scrumptious!

What you need…

for the dressing

1 shallot, chopped finely

½ tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped finely

½ teaspoon Dijon mustard

½ tablespoon pomegranate molasses (or balsamic for a slightly smoother taste)

5 tablespoons olive oil

5 tablespoons pomegranate seeds

1 tablespoon maple syrup

for the salad

225g cooked prawns

A generous handful of fresh coriander, chopped roughly

A small handful of mint, chopped finely

Your favourite leaves, torn (I used sorrel, rocket, and baby gem)

What to do…

Tip all of the dressing ingredients into your favourite salad bowl and use a fork to evenly mix together. Add the prawns and stir through. Pile the leaves on top and then cover with cling film and store in a cool place until ready to eat (I normally do this up to 2 hours in advance).

When ready to eat, toss the salad together so that all the leaves are covered with the dressing. Serve, ideally in the garden, as an aside to a barbie with good friends. Cheers!

Tip…

This would also work brilliantly with cold, sliced leftover duck or barbecued chicken instead of the prawns

Inspired by…

I saw a recipe in a magazine (can’t remember which) but didn’t have half the ingredients so ended up making this one up!

How easy…

Dead easy – just a case of chucking the ingredients in a bowl, mixing and enjoying.

Watermelon, Feta and Olive Salad with Mint

A wonderful refreshing but satisfying salad that beautifully marries the earthiness of feta and olives with the bursting sunshine, juiciness and freshness of watermelon. A perfect light lunch or starter, the addition of aromatic, fresh mint just finishes it off. Very yummy and dare I say it, quite healthy too!!!!

What you need…

½ small watermelon, peeled deseeded and chunked

½ cucumber, peeled, halved lengthways, deseeded and sliced

200g feta cheese, chunked

90g pitted black olives

A small handful mint, chopped

for the dressing

4 tablespoons olive oil

Juice of ½ lemon

Sea salt and black pepper

What to do…

First, tip the dressing ingredients into a screw top jar, pop on the lid and shake like mad.

Tip all the salad ingredients, except the feta, into a pretty salad bowl, pour in the dressing and thoroughly mix together. Gently stir in the feta – too energetic an approach and the feta will crumble. Job done! Serve and enjoy this very moreish, rather gorgeous salad!

Inspired by…

Mary Berry

How easy…

Ridiculously!

Oriental Noodle Salad with Crayfish

Light, fresh and tangy, this is a wonderful salad that will now be gracing our table regularly, so lovely it is! The fabulous combined flavours of ginger, chilli, fish sauce and lime together with coriander and mint is just sublime; and the addition of crayfish just makes it that little bit extra special – simply yummy!

Serves 4 -6 (as a side or light lunch)

What you need…

200g rice vermicelli noodles

½ cucumber, cut in half horizontally and seeds scraped out and sliced

200g crayfish tails, cooked and peeled (more if you’re feeling exuberant)

1 red pepper, deseeded and sliced finely

150g bean sprouts

6 spring onions, sliced finely

1 fresh red chilli, deseeded and sliced finely

A large handful of coriander, chopped

A small handful of mint, chopped

3cm knob of ginger, peeled and grated finely

2 garlic cloves, chopped

for the dressing

Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

3 tablespoons Thai fish sauce

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

3 tablespoons dark brown soft sugar

1 tablespoon sesame oil

What to do…

First, bring a pan of water to the boil. Take it off the heat and pop the noodles in for 5 minutes. Drain. Refresh under cold running water. Drain again. Use clean scissors to snip into short lengths. Allow to cool completely. Job done.

Whilst that’s going on, prep the rest.

Into a screw top jar, tip all of the dressing ingredients, pop on the lid and shake like mad.

Into your salad bowl, tip everything else, including the noodles. Toss together, pour over the dressing. Toss again. Serve and enjoy with a crisp glass of white wine. The salad works particularly well with barbecued meats or roasted fish (salmon in this case). Absolutely fabulous!

Tips…

Really fresh ingredients are key to the gorgeousness of this salad.

If you don’t fancy crayfish or can’t find any at a viable price, swap them for prawns, sliced beef or shredded chicken.

Inspired by…

Firstly, friends and neighbours, Cyn and Suzy, the first of whom did her own fabulous version (but has no recipe, just raw cooking talent) and the second of whom kindly pointed me in the direction of the lovely Mary Berry!

How easy…

Just a chopping and assembly joy really.

Delightful Duck with Ginger and Lime Salad

A lively, fresh and tangy salad topped with succulent duck – ideal for a lazy summer lunch in the garden. And….so tasty, so easy!

Serves 6

What you need…

3 boneless duck breasts, about 250g each

Salt

A pile of your favourite fresh salad leaves, washed and torn

for the dressing

125ml olive oil

2 teaspoon sesame oil

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Grated zest and juice of 1 orange

2 teaspoons fish sauce

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated

2 garlic cloves, chopped

2 teaspoons light soy sauce

3 spring onions, chopped finely

1 teaspoon sugar

1 Thai chilli, finely sliced

What to do…

Preheat your oven to 200˚c / 400˚f / gas 6.

Wash the duck breasts, dry on kitchen paper and then cut in half.

Prick the skin all over with a fork and season well with salt. Place the duck pieces, skin-side down, on a wire rack over a roasting tin. Pop the duck into your oven and cook for 10 minutes. Tuner over and roast for a further 12 minutes or until cooked but still pink in the centre.

Meanwhile, make the dressing. Chuck all the ingredients into a screw top jar, pop on the lid and shake like mad.

Remove the duck from the oven, cool and then cut into thick slices. Add a little of the dressing to the duck to moisten.

To serve, arrange your salad leaves on a serving plate. Top with the sliced duck breasts and drizzle with the remaining salad dressing. Absolutely delightful!

Inspired by…

Carol Bowen, Thai Cooking (a VERY old book)

How easy…

Quick bit of roasting and a little bit of shaking: job done!

Za’atar-Crusted Prawns with Bulgar Wheat and Herb Salad

This is a lovely, fast recipe, ideal for a lunch or supper with family and friends. I only came across Za’atar recently but I think it might be creeping into a few more recipes. It gives the prawns a unique aromatic and tangy flavour that worked really well with the bulgar wheat salad. Fresh, light and really quite lovely!

Serves 4

What you need…

24 large raw king prawns

4 tablespoons za’atar

½ tablespoon plain flour

Sea salt and black pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

for the salad

120g bulgar wheat

Splash of olive oil

1 red onion, sliced finely

200g pomegranate seeds

6 cherry tomatoes, roughly chopped

½ cucumber, halved lengthways, deseeded and diced

A handful of dill, chopped

A large handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped

A handful of coriander, chopped

1 handful of mint, chopped

Lemons wedges to serve

for the dressing

1 tablespoon orange juice

1 tablespoon lemon juice

5 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon ground sumac

1 teaspoon runny honey

What to do…

For the salad, cook the bulgar wheat according to the packet instructions (mine was to put 600ml of water into a saucepan with the bulgar wheat, bring to the boil, cover and then reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes). Drain and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a frying pan over a low heat and add the onion. Cook gently until the onion is just starting to soften, then increase the heat and allow it to brown just a little. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

Then make the dressing: tip all the ingredients into a screw top jar, pop on the lid and shake like mad. Set aside.

In a small bowl, mix together the za’atar, flour, salt and pepper. Tip in the prawns and mix together so that the prawns are evenly covered.

When you are about ready to eat, heat the 2 tablespoons of oil in your frying pan and sauté the prawns over a moderate heat until they are delightfully pink,

In a pretty salad bowl, tip the cooled bulgar wheat and onion as well as the pomegranate seeds, tomatoes, cucumber and herbs. Stir to evenly combine. Shake the dressing again and tip over the salad. Toss everything together. Divide the salad between 4 plates and then top with the za’atar-crusted prawns. Serve with lemon wedges. Enjoy this unusual and rather lovely dish.

Tips…

Most supermarkets sell pomegranate seeds, ready prepared.

Make the dressing in advance and keep in the fridge until needed.

Prepare the salad in advance and cover with cling film but don’t put the dressing on until the last minute otherwise the salad will go soggy.

What is Za’atar…

Usually a combination of dried thyme, sesame seeds and sumac but there are variations on the theme. I’ve seen it in lots of Middle Eastern-inspired recipes.

What is Sumac…?

A tangy lemony spice used often in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cooking.

Inspired by…

Leiths How to Cook

How easy…

Just an assembly job really and you can do most of it in advance.

 

 

Peach, Pancetta and Mozzarella Salad

An unusual, eclectic selection of flavours thrown together to create a simply fabulous salad that shouts ‘summer’ and ‘sunshine’! Perfect for an al fresco lunch with a crisp bottle of white – utterly delightful!

Serves 2

What you need…

A large handful of rocket

3 red chicory, leaves pulled apart

20g butter

3 ripe peaches, quartered

3 rosemary sprigs

90g pancetta slices

150g mozzarella, roughly torn

Handful of green olives (optional – I didn’t like them and left them on the side)

for the dressing

½ shallot, finely sliced

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

1 tablespoon caster sugar

1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard

Small handful fresh dill, chopped

3 tablespoons olive oil

Sea salt and black pepper

What to do…

First, make the dressing (which can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days). Into a jug, tip the shallot, vinegar, sugar, mustard and dill and use a balloon whisk to beat together. Slowly whisk in the oil, season with salt and pepper. Check the flavour and adjust the seasoning if need be and then tip the whole lot into a screw-topped jar and pop in the fridge until needed.

To the salad: in a mixing bowl, chuck the rocket and chicory. Set aside.

In a large frying pan, melt the butter over a moderate heat. When it starts to foam, add the peaches and rosemary and sauté for about 6 minutes or until the peaches start to colour and soften. Season with salt and transfer to the mixing bowl.

Add the pancetta to the frying pan and cook for around 7 minutes until crisp. Remove from the pan and add to the mixing bowl with the mozzarella. Tip in the dressing and toss the whole lot together before decanting onto a pretty serving plate.

Serve this quite fabulous, unusual salad with warm, fresh bread – delicious!

Inspired by…

Delicious Magazine

How easy…

A little sautéing and that’s about it!

Cod ‘BLT’

I was drawn to this recipe mainly because I thought that the combination of cod, bacon, tomato and lettuce with a dressing was nothing short of bonkers! Anyway, dubiously I created my take on Nathan Outlaw’s orginal recipe (which as a little too cheffy for me) and was absolutely gob-smacked at what a wonderful dish it turned out to be (the dressing in particular is divine) – a great and very different salad for a summer’s evening supper!

Serves 4

What you need…

1 x baking tray, liberally buttered

1kg cod, gutted, filleted and skinned

4 rashers of streaky bacon

Sea salt and black pepper

2 baby gem lettuces, washed and torn

A handful of basil leaves, torn

for the BLT dressing

8 tomatoes

2 garlic cloves, chopped

30ml white wine vinegar, plus a further teaspoon

1 tablespoon sugar

1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped

3 egg yolks, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

150ml olive oil

50ml double cream

for the oven-dried tomatoes

1 x baking tray, lined with foil

16 ripe cherry tomatoes, halved

2 garlic cloves, chopped

4 thyme sprigs, leaves picked

Drizzle of olive oil

Sprinkle of caster sugar

Sea salt and black pepper

What to do…

Start with the oven-dried tomatoes: heat your oven to 110°c / 225°f / gas ¼. Lay the tomatoes on the baking tray and sprinkle over the garlic, thyme, olive oil and caster sugar. Season with salt and pepper and pop in the oven for 90 minutes.

Turning to the dressing: into a mini chopper or blender tip the tomatoes, garlic, 30ml wine vinegar, sugar and chilli. Season with salt and pepper and whizz until smooth. Ideally leave this in the fridge for a couple of hours to let the flavours develop. Strain this tomato ‘stock’ through a sieve, discarding the remaining pulp. Set aside.

Using an electric handheld whisk, beat together the egg yolks, mustard and teaspoon of wine vinegar. Very slowly add the olive oil, whisking the whole time to emulsify. Whisk in the cream.

When you’re ready to cook the fish, preheat your oven to 200°c /400°f / gas 6.

Dry-fry the bacon in a frying pan until crisp. Cut into small pieces (I use scissors) and set aside.

Lay the fish fillets onto your baking tray and season with salt and pepper. Pop into the oven and cook for 15 minutes or until just cooked.

Meanwhile, arrange the lettuce on serving plates and scatter over the oven-dried tomatoes.

In a saucepan, gently heat the sieved tomato stock together with the egg yolk sauce, whisking the whole time and avoiding boiling.

Flake the cod over the lettuce, sprinkle over the bacon and basil and then drizzle over the sauce – enjoy this very odd combination that works extremely well!!!!

Tip…

The oven-dried tomatoes and the two elements that combine to create the BLT dressing can all be prepared in advance, leaving very little to do just before you want to eat.

Inspired by…

Nathan Outlaw

How easy…

Not difficult but requires quite a lot of time and prepping in advance. Worth it though!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Warm Salad of Scallops, Black Pudding, Bacon and Apples

This warm salad of scallops, black pudding, bacon and apples is just fabulous! The so very savoury bacon and earthy distinctiveness of black pudding contrast beautifully with the buttery caramelised apples and the delicate flavours of the scallops. Equally, the dressing is a lovely combination of sharp intermingled with sweet – the whole thing works spectacularly well and this just makes for a really great treat of an autumnal salad. Give it a go – yummy!

Serves 4

What you need…

3 firm apples, peeled, cored and cut into wedges

50g unsalted butter

Pinch of caster sugar

6 slices back bacon, chopped

12 large, fresh scallops

200g black pudding, skinned and sliced

100g of your favourite mixed salad leaves

Sea salt and black pepper

for the dressing

3 teaspoons wholegrain mustard

3 teaspoons maple syrup

6 teaspoons cider vinegar

2 tablespoons rapeseed oil

Sea salt and black pepper

What to do…

Arrange your salad leaves on a serving plate and set aside.

For the dressing, tip all the ingredients into screw-top jar, put the lid on tightly and shake like mad to combine thoroughly. Season, shake again. Taste. Set aside if you’re happy with the seasoning.

Melt the butter in a frying pan, add the apples and sugar. Season with salt and pepper and toss the apples around gently to evenly coat. Cook over a moderate heat for 7 – 8 minutes, turning occasionally, until they are caramelised all over. Set aside.

Meanwhile, heat another frying pan and cook the bacon over moderate heat for 1-2 minutes to release some of the fat. Whack up the heat to high and stir-fry until lovely and crispy. Using a slotted spoon, remove from the pan and pop onto a piece of kitchen paper. Set aside.

Pour most of the fat away from the frying pan and return to a high heat. Add the scallops and sear for 2 minutes, seasoning as you go. Flip them over and then add the black pudding, cooking it for 1 minute on each side. Again, using a slotted spoon remove the scallops and black pudding from the pan and pop them on the kitchen paper with the bacon.

Tip or arrange your bacon, scallops and black pudding over the salad leaves. Add the lovely caramelised apples and then give your dressing another mad shake before drizzling it over the lot. Put in the middle of the table and let everyone dive in – it’s bloody gorgeous and so far removed from any normal association with any salad!!!! Enjoy!

Inspired by…

Delicious magazine

How easy…

Quick cooking, just 2 frying pans and a jam jar to clear; and an assembly job – dead easy!