Gourmet salad for summer loving!

>> Wednesday, 21 July 2010

I would appear to be one of the few people who gets excited about salads.

For many people, salads are a superfluous plate dressing not made to touch the fork. To some, they have been tainted with all things 'diet' related or even considered a bit girly to be ordered for fear of mockery (applies to boys!).

To me, a good salad is a pleasure to view and to eat and one of my favourite meals.My perfect salads are not about low calorie and they are certainly not all vegetable. They are about taste, texture and creativity. If I was ever to write a recipe book, I think this would be what I'd focus on and it's generally what people ask me to make if there is a gathering!

Two of my favourite salads are:

  • Roasted sweet potato, butter bean, chorizo and spinach
  • Pan-fried courgette, balsamic raisin and toasted pine nut

Given I have a glut of courgette to get through (blog entry - the biggest courgette....ever) I've shared the latter with you below. This is such a lovely salad; sweet, tangy, crunchy and fresh. It's perfect on it's own or as a side. The courgettes can easily be grilled, making this a great BBQ dish too.

Courgette, balsamic raisin and toasted pine nut salad (serves 4)

  • 2 medium courgettes
  • 100g raisin
  • 75ml balsamic vinegar
  • 50g pine nuts
  • 1 lemon (juiced)
  • Olive oil
  • Seasoning

Step 1: Slice your courgettes into chunky strips

Step 2: Heat a glug of olive oil in a frying pan (or griddle pan) and add the courgette. Turn after 2 minutes and repeat until both sides are slightly browned but the courgette is still firm. Put to one side to cool

Step 3: Add balsamic and raisins to a saucepan and heat rapidly until all the balsamic is absorbed. Turn off heat and put to one side to cool.

Step 4: Add the pine nuts to a dry frying pan and heat gently for 2-3 minutes (be very careful they don't burn) - put in a dish when they are toasted to prevent them continuing to cook

Step 5: Assemble dish. Add courgette to plate and scatter over raisins and pine nuts. Squeeze over lemon juice, season and serve

I hope I can convince you that salads are more than rabbit food!!
Helen x

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