Salads have enjoyed a welcome surge in popularity in recent years. No longer just a piece of limp lettuce, tomato and cucumber on a plate, there are endless potential combinations that will both delight your taste buds and nourish your health too. Summer is the perfect time to start experimenting, so here’s a few ideas to get you started….
Mozarella, peach and chicory salad - Serves 4 as an appetiser
You will need:
• 3 fresh peaches (cut into thin wedges)
• 4 handfuls of chicory leaves
• 1 large ball of fresh mozzarella, torn into thin shreds
• 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
• Freshly ground black pepper
1. Arrange the peach wedges and chicory leaves into a large bowl and gently toss to mix. Arrange on a serving plate. Scatter the mozzarella pieces over the salad.
2. Put the olive oil, vinegar and black pepper in a bowl, whisk with a fork and spoon over the salad to serve.
Broad bean, tomato and anchovies with fresh cheese - Serves 4
You will need:
• 150g podded young broad beans
• 8—12 cherry tomatoes, cut halves or quarters, depending on size
• 1 spring onion, thinly sliced
• 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive
• 1 dessertspoon lemon juice
• 150g soft fresh curd cheese or ricotta cheese
• 4 salted anchovy fillets, cut in half lengthways
• 1 tablespoon finely shredded fresh mint
• Zest of ½ lemon
1. Blanch the broad beans in a pan of boiling unsalted water for 4—8 minutes, until tender, then drain. Peel any that are larger than your thumbnail.
2. Place the broad beans, tomatoes and spring onion in a bowl and dress with 4 tablespoons of the oil, the lemon juice and some salt and pepper.
3. Spread out on a large plate, dot 4 dollops of curd cheese with 2 anchovy strips in a cross on top of each, followed by the shredded mint, lemon zest and a little black pepper.
4. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil and serve immediately.
Beetroot, puy lentil & feta salad - Serves 4
You will need:
• 1kg beetroot
• 400g puy (green) lentils
• 2 carrots, peeled and finely diced
• Handful of fresh thyme leaves (or 2 tsp dried)
• 3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
• Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper to season
• 3 tbsps red wine vinegar
• 8 tbsps olive oil
• Juice of 2 small lemons
• Large handful parsley, chopped
• 1 red onion, peeled and finely sliced
• 300g feta cheese, crumbled
1. Preheat oven to 180C. Put the whole beets in a roasting dish, cover with foil and bake for 1 hour or so until soft. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
2. Meanwhile in a pan with 1 ½ litres water, heat the lentils with the carrots, thyme and garlic to a boil, then simmer for 25 minutes until lentils are cooked.
3. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix the lentils with red wine vinegar and 4 tbsps of oil. Leave to cool. Peel cooled beetroot, cut into chunks and combine with the lentils.
4. Add the lemon juice, the remaining oil, parsley, red onion and feta; lightly toss together and then serve.