Delicious Dishes: Salad for summer & all the seasons

Summer pasta salad.
Due to wider appeal of healthy eating, main course salads are taking a more prominent role in restaurants and at home. Whereas home salads used to consist of lettuce, tomato, onion and maybe a hard boiled egg along with yesterday’s cold roast, they now use all sorts of ingredients like goats cheese, black pudding, duck breast or fresh tuna, along with the flavours from the Far East, Mexico and of course Italy and France.

Due to wider appeal of healthy eating, main course salads are taking a more prominent role in restaurants and at home. Whereas home salads used to consist of lettuce, tomato, onion and maybe a hard boiled egg along with yesterday’s cold roast, they now use all sorts of ingredients like goats cheese, black pudding, duck breast or fresh tuna, along with the flavours from the Far East, Mexico and of course Italy and France.

Allow your imagination to run riot with the endless possibilities of main course salads. Salads are versatile and variable, welcoming and easy to do.

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ORIENTAL NOODLE SALAD

9oz/250g dried chinese noodles

1tbsp fresh ginger, grated

Juice of 1 lime

1tbsp soy sauce

1tbsp sweet chilli sauce

4tbsp sunflower oil

12oz/336g cooked prawns

3 – 4 chopped spring onions

3tbsp chopped coriander

1 large mango, diced

Cook the noodles according to the packet. Mix together the ginger, oil, lime juice, soy sauce and sweet chilli sauce and season with some salt & pepper. Pour this over the noodles tossing them well. Add the remaining ingredients and toss again. Serve at room temperature.

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COURGETTE AND BUTTERHEAD LETTUCE SALAD

4 courgettes

4oz/112g shaved parmesan

1 large head butterhead lettuce

2 spring onions

drizzle of olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

salt & pepper

2oz/56g toasted pecan nuts or hazelnuts

dash of balsamic vinegar

Top and tail the courgettes and slice at an angle (nice thick slices), place on a tray and drizzle over some olive oil and the chopped cloves of garlic, season with salt & pepper.

Wash the lettuce and arrange on a large flat plate or tray. Cook the slices of courgette on the BBQ or on a griddle pan on the cooker, get them nice and charred.

Arrange the cooked courgette on the lettuce, sprinkle over the parmesan, drizzle with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with the toasted nuts.

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BASIL PESTO

Large bunch of basil leaves

juice of 1 lemon

1 fat garlic clove, finely chopped

7 fl oz/200ml Extra Virgin olive oil

2oz/56g pine nuts, toasted

salt

Using a food processor blend the basil, lemon juice and garlic with the olive oil, starting with as little oil as possible to keep the herb’s colour. Once you have a smooth paste you can add the rest. Add the toasted pine nuts and blend briefly to a lumpy puree. Season with salt. This will keep in the fridge for up to 1 month. To this mix I would add 4 oz of parmesan cheese when I am ready to serve the pesto.

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SUMMER VEGETABLE PASTA WITH BASIL PESTO

1lb/672g Mixed Summer Vegetables e.g. Green Beans, Mangetout, sliced Fennel, Spring Onions, Baby Corn, Courgettes

1 small Red Chilli, chopped

1 Clove Garlic, chopped

2oz/56g Shaved Parmesan

olive oil

1 x 500g bag Pasta

Salt & Pepper

3 tbsp Basil Pesto

In a large frying pan or wok, place 2tbsp of olive oil and fry off the summer vegetables starting with the spring onion, keep a bite in the vegetables, season with salt & pepper, add in the garlic and chilli (optional). Cook the pasta in boiling salted water drain and toss in the cooked vegetables. Transfer to a large serving bowl sprinkle on the cheese and drizzle with pesto.