Summer Salads Part 2


It seems that you really loved those Summer Salads in my column of several weeks ago so here as promised are a few more combinations to add to your repertoire.  Pile your salads high and tuck in and enjoy.

For those of us who love to garden and grow some of our own food, this is the most fantastic time of the year.  Problem is, there are scarcely enough meal slots to enjoy all the produce. 

I’m crazy about beetroot – we’ve got a glut of gorgeous tender beets at present, so we’ve been enjoying it in every shape and form, roast, boiled, pickled, made into crisps, and of course in both hot and cold soups.  This Beetroot, Almond and Mint Leaf salad has been getting an enthusiastic response.  If you don’t have pomegranate molasses, buy a bottle whenever you find it but meanwhile, substitute runny honey and lime juice.

Swiss chard is another brilliant vegetable that provides double value for money and keeps on giving…Of course, it’s delicious cooked simply or in a gratin but how about combining it with a tahini dressing, some fat juicy raisins and toasted cashew nuts.  I particularly love it with a sprinkling of paprika and warm flat breads.

Several of our teachers and gardeners go out fishing on these Summer evenings.  We’ve been getting some gorgeous fresh pollock and mackerel and an occasional turbot.  We love to hot-smoke the fish in a biscuit tin over a gas jet – super simple and combine it with the first of the new season’s marsh samphire and some roast red and yellow peppers.  This was a huge hit when Rory O’Connell first served it at a Long Table Dinner in the greenhouses pre-Covid….

If you’d like to make it more substantial, add some cooked and diced, preferably, warm potatoes and serve with a dollop of homemade mayonnaise.  We also love this mackerel niçoise salad – a celebration of Summer in a dish.  Here too is a recipe for bhelpuri, one of my favourite Indian street food combos.  A delicious melange of mango, red onion, spices, chutneys, crunchy puffed rice, sev and peanuts with a tamarind dressing.   

And last but not least for this week, a salad to showcase a few of the white peaches that grow along the south facing wall of the Green dining room here at the cookery school – we are inordinately proud of our home-grown stone fruit, not all of them look picture perfect but even the wonky ones are delicious in salads.  Try this combination but we also love them with blanched French beans and roasted almonds, a sprinkling of chives and a lime dressing, this recipe was inspired by a past student, Thomas Straker – follow him on Instagram: @thomas_straker

He’s got lots of really scrummy ideas in 60 second videos.

Those of you who have my Grow Cook Nourish, book published in 2017 by Kyle Books will find lots of inspiration in there too with 500 recipes to make the most of the Summer harvest from your own garden or the Farmers Market.  This is about all I can squash into this column but there’s so much more…Just one of these salads make a delicious Summer lunch and several can also be served as a starter. 


Beetroot, Almond and Fresh Mint Leaf Salad

We’re crazy about beetroot and continue to dream up new ways to enjoy them.  This is a particularly delicious combination.  Serve it as a starter or as part of a mezze.

Serves 4

3 tablespoons blanched, unskinned almonds or roasted Marcona almonds

450g (1lb) cooked beetroot (see below)

2 tablespoons shredded mint leaves

2 tablespoons fresh pomegranate seeds

Pomegranate Dressing

1 large pomegranate

1 tablespoon Forum Cabernet Sauvignon vinegar or a good red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

If using blanched almonds, roast them in the oven at 150°C/300°F/Gas Mark 2 for 10-15 minutes until golden brown.  Remove and leave to cool, then roughly chop.

Peel and slice the beetroot into wedges. 

To make the pomegranate dressing, cut the pomegranate in half and juice on a citrus juicer. Alternatively, remove the seeds and discard any bitter skin or white pith.  Put the seeds in a nylon sieve and press them with the back of a spoon to extract all the juice, discarding any skin or hard seeds.   Put the juice and the remaining dressing ingredients into a jam jar with a lid, season with salt and pepper and shake well. 

Pour the dressing over the beetroot, then scatter over the almonds, mint and pomegranate seeds.  Mix gently, taste and serve.

How to Cook Beetroot

Leave 5cm (2 inch) of leaf stalks on top and the whole root on the ‘tail’.  Save the stalks and young leaves.   Hold the beetroot under a running tap and wash off the mud with your hands, so that you don’t damage the skin; otherwise the beetroot will bleed during cooking. Cover with cold water and add a little salt and sugar. Cover, bring to the boil and simmer on the hob or cook in the oven (230°C/450°F/Gas Mark 8), for 1-2 hours depending on size. Beetroot are usually cooked if the skin rubs off easily and if they dent when pressed with a finger.  If in doubt, test with a skewer or the tip of a knife.

From Grow, Cook, Nourish published by Kyle Books

Warm Smoked Pollock with Roast Peppers and Marsh Samphire

Marsh Samphire is in season from mid to late summer.   Failing that, blanched and refreshed French beans work well.  I also love to use raw or blanched purslane to samphire when in season.  My brother Rory O’Connell first served this at a Long Table Dinner in the greenhouse, where it was a huge hit.

Serves 8 as a starter

450g – 700g (1 – 1 1/2lbs) pollock, skin on

2 red and yellow peppers

110g – 160g (4-5 1/2oz) marsh samphire

extra virgin olive oil

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

You don’t need any special equipment to hot-smoke fish – even a biscuit tin will do the job.

Lay the fish fillets flesh-side up on a tray, then sprinkle the unskinned Pollock with salt as though you were seasoning generously.  Leave for at least an hour but not more than 3 hours.  Dry the fillets with kitchen paper, place on a wire rack and leave to dry in a cool, airy place for about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 250°C/500°F/Gas Mark 9.

Put the peppers on a baking tray and bake for 20-30 minutes until the skin blisters and the flesh is soft.

Alternatively, put a wire rack over a mild gas flame and roast the peppers on all sides. When they are charred, remove.  When roasted, put the peppers into a bowl and cover with an upturned plate for a few minutes – this will make them much easier to peel. Peel, deseed and cut into strips.

To smoke the Pollock, sprinkle 2 tablespoons of sawdust (we use apple wood) on the base of a rectangular biscuit tin or smoking box.  Put a wire rack into the tin and lay the fish, flesh-side up on top.  Put the box on a gas flame over a high heat for a minute or so until the sawdust starts to smoulder.  Cover the box with a lid or tightly with tin foil, then reduce the heat and smoke for 6-7 minutes.  Turn off the heat and leave to sit, unopened, for 5 minutes. 

Meanwhile, put the samphire into a saucepan of boiling water (not salted), return to the boil and simmer for 3-4 minutes or until tender.  Drain off the water (refresh in cold water if serving later). Toss the samphire in extra virgin olive but do not add salt because samphire has a natural salty tang.

To serve, divide the smoked pollock into nice flaky pieces, arrange on a serving platter with strips of red and yellow pepper and sprigs of samphire on top. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and freshly ground pepper and a few flakes of sea salt.

Serve with homemade mayonnaise.

From Grow, Cook, Nourish published by Kyle Books

Swiss Chard with Tahini, Yoghurt, Cashew Nuts and Crisps

Chard is such a brilliant vegetable, it’s another brassica that gives double value for money and keeps on giving.  The currants, sultanas or raisins add an appealing sweetness here.  Spinach, plus the stalks, may be substituted in this recipe.

Serves 4

1.3kg (3lbs) Swiss chard

25g (1oz) butter

2 tablespoons olive oil plus extra to serve

40g fresh (1 1/2oz) cashew nuts or almonds, roughly chopped

1 garlic clove, very thinly sliced

4 tablespoons currants, sultanas or raisins

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

sweet paprika, vegetable or potato crisps to garnish (optional)

flatbread or pitta, to serve

Tahini and Yoghurt

50g (2oz) light ‘untoasted’ tahini paste

50g (2oz) thick natural yoghurt

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 garlic clove, crushed

a little honey, if necessary

First make the Tahini sauce.

Put all the ingredients into a bowl with 2 tablespoons of water, season with a pinch of salt and whisk until smooth.  Taste and add a little honey, if necessary.  Set aside.

Separate the green chard leaves from the white stalks.  Cut both into 2cm (3/4 inch) wide slices but keep them separate.  Bring a large saucepan of well-salted water to the boil, add the chard stalks, simmer for 3-4 minutes, then add the leaves and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Drain and squeeze the chard well until it is completely dry.

Next, put the butter and olive oil in a large frying pan on a medium heat.  Add the nuts and toss them in the pan for about 2 minutes until golden.  Add the garlic and dried fruit and toss until they begin to turn golden.  Return the chard to the pan and toss until warm.  Season to taste. 

Serve the chard with some of the tahini sauce on top.  Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, scatter with vegetable or potato crisps and a sprinkle of paprika.  Serve with freshly cooked flatbread or pitta.

From Grow, Cook, Nourish published by Kyle Books

Peach, Gorgonzola and Watercress Salad

A gorgeous summer starter salad – made in minutes. A super way to use really ripe peaches. I find the combination of peaches and watercress irresistible. Here, one also has the saltiness of the blue cheese and freshness of the spring onions.

Serves 8

4 ripe peaches or nectarines

2–3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon

juice and a little honey, sprinkled over the peaches to stop them discolouring

small watercress or rocket leaves

225g (8oz) blue cheese, such as Gorgonzola, Crozier or Wicklow Blue

110g (4oz) walnut halves, coarsely chopped

4 scallions or spring onions, thinly sliced

For the dressing

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

6 tablespoons walnut oil or extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard

1 teaspoon wildflower honey

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

First make the dressing. Whisk all the ingredients together in a little bowl with a fork. Season to taste.

Choose perfectly ripe peaches or nectarines. Slice in 6–8 pieces and sprinkle with freshly squeezed lemon juice and honey if not serving immediately. Scatter a few watercress sprigs or rocket leaves on each plate, tuck a few peach slices in here and there, crumble some Gorgonzola or other blue cheese over the top. Drizzle a little dressing over the salad, sprinkle some toasted walnuts and thinly sliced

scallions or spring onions over the top. Serve immediately.

From Grow, Cook, Nourish published by Kyle Books

Salade Niçoise

This is the quintessential French salad and makes a wonderful Summer lunch. Some versions include crisp red and green peppers, and some omit the potato for a less-substantial salad.  All the many varieties of green beans can be included.

Serves approx. 8

8 medium new potatoes, such as Pink Fir Apple, cooked but still warm

3–4 ripe tomatoes, quartered

110g (4oz) runner beans, topped and tailed and cut into approx. 5cm (2 inch) lengths, blanched and refreshed

pinch of granulated sugar

1 dessertspoon chopped chives

1 dessertspoon chopped flat-leaf parsley

1 dessertspoon annual marjoram or thyme

1 crisp lettuce (optional)

3 hard-boiled organic eggs, quartered

12 black olives

1 teaspoon capers (optional)

1 x 50g (2oz) can anchovy fillets and/or 2 x 100g (3 1/2oz) cans tuna

8 tiny spring onions

Ballymaloe French Dressing (see recipe)

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Slice the new potatoes into 5mm (1/4 inch) thick slices and toss in some Ballymaloe French dressing while still warm. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Toss the tomatoes and beans in some more dressing, season with salt, pepper and sugar and sprinkle with some of the chopped herbs. 

Line a shallow bowl with lettuce leaves, if using, and add the potatoes.  Arrange the remaining ingredient appetisingly on top of the potatoes, finishing off with the olives, capers, if using, and chunks of tuna and/or the anchovies. Drizzle some more dressing over the top.  Sprinkle over the remaining herbs and spring onions and serve.

Vegetarian Salade Niçoise

Omit the tuna fish or anchovies and add strips of roasted red and yellow peppers and chargrilled onions.  

Ballymaloe French Dressing

Makes approx. 150ml (5fl oz)

125ml (4 1/2fl oz) extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon honey

1 garlic clove, crushed

1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Maldon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Put all the ingredients into a small bowl or jam jar. Whisk until the dressing has emulsified. Preferably use fresh but it will keep in the fridge for a couple of days. Whisk to emulsify before using.

From Grow, Cook, Nourish published by Kyle Books

Bhelpuri from Kricket

Every street stall in Mumbai has its own take of bhelpuri but this version comes from Kricket in London – it’s a signature dish on their menu which they can’t take off.

Serves 4

4 tablespoons natural yoghurt

caster sugar to taste

100g (3 1/2oz) store-bought bhelpuri mix

1/2 red onion finely diced

1 green raw mango finely diced

4 tablespoons Coriander Chutney (see recipe)

4 pinches chaat masala

4 tablespoons Tamarind & Date Chutney (see recipe)

80g (3 1/4oz) store-bought sev

a small handful of coriander or finely chopped coriander leaves

For the coriander chutney 

500g (18oz) fresh coriander, stems and leaves

200ml (7fl oz) vegetable oil

a thumb-size piece of fresh ginger root

4 garlic cloves peeled

2 green chillies

6 tablespoons lemon juice

caster sugar to taste

sea salt to taste

For the tamarind and date chutney (Makes 900g)

500g (18oz) tamarind paste

2 cinnamon sticks

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

2 fresh Indian bay leaves

300ml (10fl oz) water

2 tablespoons Kashmiri red chilli powder

4 tablespoons date purée or a handful of fresh dates

200g (7oz) jaggery or caster sugar

Make the coriander chutney. Blitz the coriander in a food-processor with the oil, ginger, garlic and green chillies until it forms a fine paste. Add the lemon juice and season to taste with sugar and salt. Store in sterilised jars in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Make the tamarind and date chutney. Boil all the ingredients in a large heavy-based saucepan over a low heat for about one hour, until well blended and thick. Set aside to cool. If you have used fresh dates, you may need to blitz the chutney in a blender until smooth. Once cool, store in sterilised jars in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Beat the yoghurt in a bowl and sweeten to taste with sugar. Set aside until ready to serve.

Put the bhelpuri mix in a bowl, add the onion and mango, along with the coriander chutney and chaat masala. Mix well.

Spoon the mixture into mounds on four serving plates, then generously spoon over the yoghurt and tamarind and date chutney, leaving some yoghurt visible. Sprinkle the sev, and top with the fresh coriander. Serve immediately as it will become soggy very quickly.

From Kricket: An Indian Inspired Cookbook by Hugh Johnson published by Hardie Grant

About the author

Darina Allen
By Darina Allen


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