Side salads needn’t be a sad looking lettuce, cucumber and tomato combo. Jazz up your sides with these summery recipes along with a few tips and tricks.
Courgette carpaccio Yes, raw courgette can be delicious thing! Using a potato peeler, peel the 2 raw courgettes into ribbons and put in a large bowl. Squeeze over the juice of a lemon, 2 tbs of extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle over a large pinch of salt. Add a handful of chopped fresh dill and give it a good mix (being careful not to break up the courgette ribbons). Once everything is nicely dressed, pour out onto a large platter and dot with chunks of goat’s cheese. Drizzle with more extra virgin olive oil and serve.
Raw broccoli slaw Eating raw broccoli may seem odd but it’s no different than eating raw cabbage in a slaw and it’s very tasty. Prepare a head of broccoli by cutting it into bite-sized florets and discarding the chunky stalk. Pop in a large bowl with a quarter of a finely sliced red onion and put to one side. In a small frying pan, over a medium heat, infuse 1 clove of bashed garlic clove in a tbs of extra virgin olive oil until it starts to sizzle slightly. Take off the heat, discard the garlic clove and put the oil to one side. In a smaller bowl make the dressing by whisking together 150g of Greek yogurt, the juice of half a lemon, 1 tsp of cider vinegar, 1 tsp of Dijon mustard and the warm garlic oil until combined. Season well with salt and pepper before pouring over the raw broccoli.Mix together along with a couple of handfuls of flaked almonds. Pour into a bowl, season and dust with smoked paprika. Finish with a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and serve.
Mango and mozzarella Mango and mozzarella make excellent bedfellows and a refreshing summer salad. Start by making the dressing by mixing the juice of a lime, 1 small garlic clove crushed and a tbs of extra virgin olive oil in a small bowl. Chop the mango into chunks and finely chop 2 spring onions, fresh coriander, half a deseeded red chilli and mix them together in a large bowl along with the dressing. Wash and chop 1 gem lettuce and add to the other ingredients and mix well. Drain 2 balls of mozzarella and tear into pieces with your fingers and add them to the salad. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with a sprinkle of dried chilli flakes.
Not quite ready for raw broccoli and exotic fruit in your salad? Try adding a bit of texture by sprinkling over a handful of seeds or some chopped nuts. Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and pine nuts are a good option as they’re mild in flavour but add a nice bit of bite. You could also try including grains and pulses to make your salads more substantial. Chickpeas and kidney beans work well as do grains such as couscous and rice. Freshly chopped herbs can be a fragrant addition along with flavoured oils used in dressings. So, jazz up those side salads and have a party why don’t you!
I went to an insanely overpriced but beautiful health food shop today in Finsbury Park. Sometimes, I like to swish around this shop and pretend I’m a regular customer. I even put three large avocados in my basket knowing they’re £2.50 each without so much as a small grimace on my face – I’m such a good actress. (I quickly put two back without anyone noticing.)
I spend a good 20 minutes picking items off the shelves, pretending to read the labels before returning them to their place – God, I’m having a great time. I eventually reach the counter with a mere five items in my basket all carefully plucked and examined ready for purchase.
“That will be fifteen pounds and twenty nine pence, please,” says the smug man behind the counter with long greasy hair. Shit – he knows! He knows I think this shop is ridiculously overpriced and that I usually shop at Tesco. The bastard! Two can play at this game. I smile sweetly and tap my bank card on the card reader as if I don’t have a care in the world.
I turn to leave, still smiling like a slightly deranged mental patient.
“Would you like a date?” the greasy haired man calls after me. Feeling slightly flattered, but mostly awkward, I turn to say, “Sorry, I have a boyfr….” when I realise he is elbow deep in a giant glass jar of what looks like crusty old turds. My neck is suddenly very hot as I realise my error.
“Err, yes please,” I say quickly, as he drops a large date into my open palm. I take a bite, thinking I can always chuck it away when I get outside, but to my surprise it’s soft, sweet and delicious. I then burst into tears – it’s been a hard month.
Back home, I spread the expensive bread I just bought with the expensive feta and top with baked expensive tomatoes and you know what? When you feel like utter shit, there’s nothing better than glorified cheese on toast to make everything okay again… That and a big juicy date. So weird.
Baked tomatoes & feta on toast Serves 2 / Hands on time 10 mins / Total time 25 mins /V Extra virgin olive oil
4 large tomatoes or 6 medium tomatoes on the vine
6 thyme sprigs
100g vegetarian feta
1 small garlic clove, peeled
2 large sliced sourdough bread, toasted
2 poached eggs to serve eggs (optional)
1. Preheat an oven to 220°C/200°C fan/425°F/gas mark 7. Leaving the tomatoes on the vine, place on a non stick baking tray and spear each tomato with a fresh thyme sprig. Drizzle with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
2. Once the tomatoes are baked, turn the oven off and leave the tomatoes inside to keep warm. If you’re poaching eggs, now is a good time to get them on. Toast the bread and rub each slice with a peeled garlic clove. Split the feta between the 2 slices and squish down roughly with the back of a fork.
3. Remove the warm tomatoes from the oven, discard the thyme sprigs and evenly distribute the tomatoes on top of the feta. Press the tomatoes down using the back of a fork releasing some of the juice. Serve immediately drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, a good crack of salt and pepper and top each with a poached egg (optional).
If you’ve had a go at making any of my recipes, I’d love to hear from you. Follow me now @corrieheale and tag your recipe pictures using #corriesrabbitfood.