Category Archives: Salads

burgul and roast vegetables

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This is good for a hot summer evening.

First I roast the vegetables in the oven; I cube a pepper, two  long aubergines and a few shallots. I spread them on a foil-lined baking sheet, dribble olive oil on top and cook in the fan-assisted oven for 30 minutes at 200°C. Halfway through, I turn the vegetables and add a good handful of halved date tomatoes. When cooked I sprinkle with salt and pepper. In the meantime I cook 250 gm of burgul (cracked wheat) in salted water for 10 minutes, drain and leave to cool. When vegetables and burgul are cold, I mix together with some feta cheese,  the juice of a lemon and olive oil and add torn basil leaves.

Instead of burgul you could use couscous or regular pasta.

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melon and feta salad

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I love feta – its saltiness goes so well with the sweetness of melon.

I cube a melon and arrange in a dish. I cube feta cheese and add it to the melon. I sprinkle a little black pepper and a few torn leaves of basil and a trickle of olive oil.

The simple things in life are best!

big salad

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If we’ve spent the day quietly at home or maybe over-indulged at lunchtime, then we often just have a big mixed salad in the evening.

I cut salad leaves into fine strips (sacrilege for purists, I know, who only tear salad leaves!) and slice cabbage and/or fennel on the mandolin. Beans sprouts are good too. I add cubes of cheese (feta or asiago or whatever), stoned black/green olives and chopped tomato. A few chopped leaves of mint or coriander are a nice addition. I dress with salt, pepper, one part vinegar and three parts extra virgin olive oil.

A piece of toasted bread is all you need …and  a glass of cold white wine!

cabbage salad with speck

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Summer cabbage is my favourite salad vegetable, much more tender and tasty than the normal white cabbage. I like this Tirolean salad which uses speck instead of oil.

First I thinly slice the cabbage on the mandolin, put it in a serving bowl and add salt, pepper and caraway seeds. I then cut some speck into little sticks and heat it in a non-stick frying pan. When the fat starts to melt, I add a few tablespoons of white wine vinegar and let it bubble away for a few seconds. I then pour this over the cabbage, mix well and leave it to absorb the flavours for 5 minutes before serving.

If speck is not available, you could use smoky bacon.

cauliflower salad

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This is a traditional recipe from Naples… insalata di rinforzo.

I steam a cauliflower, taking care not to overcook it. Then I divide the florets into smallish pieces. To these I add chopped roast peppers (those in jars are fine!), chopped gherkins, stoned olives, capers and a few anchovies. I dress the salad with an emulsion of salt, pepper, vinegar and extra virgin olive oil.

In Naples, what’s left over next day would be bolstered (rinforzo) with extra cauliflower. In our house we never have anything left over!

duck salad

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We’re not very fond of pink duck breast, but roast duck legs are ok.

I put the duck legs in a non-stick roasting tin skin down and brown them over a brisk flame. I turn them over to quickly brown the other side. They give off  their own fat. Then I salt and pepper them and cook them in the oven (180°C) for 90 minutes to two hours, with a sprig of thyme tucked into the flesh. The skin should be crispy and the meat well cooked. 

They’re nice warm in a salad. Use a robust salad like spinach salad or finely sliced sweetheart cabbage. I make the dressing with lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, olive oil and salt and pepper. To eat hot, add potatoes around the meat to roast in the last hour.

kohlrabi salad

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We had cold meatloaf today, so this is a good German-style salad to go with it.

First I peel the kohlrabi  (cavolo rapa) and grate it finely (I use the Magimix). You need one kohlrabi per person. I put it in a colander, add a generous amount of salt, and cover with a weighted plate.  Meanwile I make the dressing by combining yogurt, vinegar, olive oil, pepper and a little salt in the serving bowl. After 30 minutes  I squeeze handfuls of the vegetable to extract as much water as possible. I add the vegetable to the dressing and mix well.

Actually, kohlrabi isn’t readily available in Italy outside Sud Tirol. I can get it  here in a farmers’ market in via Tadi.

vegetable salad

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My mother dressed every salad – cooked or raw – in the same way. A little finely chopped onion, vinegar, a good dollop of mayonnaise , olive oil, salt and pepper were mixed together in the bottom of the serving bowl and left to stand for a few minutes. The vegetables or salad were then folded in. My only variation is to sometimes substitute yoghurt with mayo… and not to dress EVERY salad this way!

However last night I had some left over boiled french beans and mayo, so I steamed a few potatoes and made Mother’s salad. I added a few cherry tomatoes too. 

  

friselle

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This is ideal for lunch in the hot summer.

i pass a couple of friselle under running water, shake off the excess, put them on a plate and dribble over some oil.  Next, I pile on top tomatoes, cucumber and feta. I season with salt and pepper and more extra virgin olive oil. I let it stand for 10 minutes  to soften up the friselle a bit.

Mozzarella is nice instead of feta and some basil leaves would be a good addition.

If you can’t get friselle, any stale bread would do.

chicken and pasta salad

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It’s too hot to cook! I did this at 7 am this morning.

I cooked 200 gm of fusilli. I cut a chicken breast into slices and grilled them in a dry non-stick pan. I seasoned the meat with salt, pepper and dried oregano. I dressed the pasta with black olives, capers, the juice of a lemon and extra virgin olive oil. I added the chicken cut into small pieces.

 A whole meal in one dish, perfect for summer.