Salads

Salads

By
Mark Hix
Contains
16 recipes
Published by
Quadrille Publishing
ISBN
9781844003921
Photographer
Jason Lowe

Salads are a crucial part of a menu, whether they are a simple side dish or a more complex starter featuring a seasonal ingredient. Our menu at the Oyster & Chop House may seem a bit masculine on the surface, but within we balance it up with some lighter options, according to what’s in season.

A salad should always be very fresh and full of flavour. A good combination of just a few, flavourful leaves really does set aside a first-rate salad from a bog-standard one based on boring supermarket packs of ready-washed salad leaves. I keep a nice selection of leaves growing in the garden, such as buckler leaf or silver sorrel, parcel (leaf celery), parsley, rocket, purslane and land cress, and I encourage edible weeds like bittercress and chickweed to grow, instead of tossing them into the compost bin or spraying weedkiller on them.

Many edible decorative plants, including nasturtiums and amaranth, also make a good addition to the salad bowl along with some freshly cut common garden herbs like chervil, flat-leaf parsley and small-leafed Greek basil. On their own, a good selection of these leaves makes a memorable salad. Add seasonal ingredients like asparagus, game or fish, and you start to realise that a salad can be really exhilarating.

If you are serving a side salad, just one or two distinctive leaves can often be more pleasing than a complicated mix of several ingredients. Native leaves, such as watercress, cos lettuce or little gem hearts, old-fashioned English round or Webb’s lettuce, pea shoots and tendrils are perfect choices for a simple side salad or starter.

Dressings

A good salad, apart from having great tasty leaves, is about the dressing. Good salad leaves deserve to be well dressed and I like to have a range of vinegars and oils so I can make a bespoke dressing to suit the ingredients in the salad and the occasion. Other flavourings can be added to round off the dressing and match it to the food you are serving the salad with. Mustard is the obvious choice – there are lots of different types – but horseradish works well or you can even add fruit as I do for my Bramble dressing.

Featured Recipes in this Chapter

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