I always think of salads as summertime food, I find it hard to summon enthusiasm for them in the winter. They are cold and should come with a dose of heat and vitamin D from a sunny day!
Having thought about a bit more I am slowly coming round to winter salads and these two are becoming my favourites.
The first makes use of oranges very much in season at the moment, I made my marmalade a while back and the blood oranges are now in the shops, and fennel available for most of the year.
The second salad is a bit of a salmagrundi, using Asian flavours and as much chilli heat as you like. Both of these go very well with duck, the acidity cutting the rich fattiness. The second is good with crispy, spicy belly pork added.
The important thing is to make sure the ingredients are not straight from the fridge and have time to warm up to room temperature before you eat the salads.
Orange and Fennel Salad
This is so simple I almost didn’t write it down, I love the scallion in it but it can linger on the breath!
¼ of a lemon
¼ of a bulb of fennel
2 glugs of good olive oil
the white of a scallion or 2 optional*
Cut the skin off the orange and slice it into rounds and lay them on a plate and sprinkle with a pinch of salt.
Slice the fennel as thinly as possible and spread over the top of the orange slices, squeeze over the lemon juice and pour over the olive oil. Leave to stand for 30 minutes at room temperature.
* Finely slice the white of the scallion and sprinkle on with the fennel.
A Warming Salad
Roast beetroot is nicest in this, but the vacuumed packed cooked beetroot will be fine, it also gives a little colour to the dressing.
1 small clove of garlic
juice of half a lime
1tbs soy sauce
2tbs olive oil
1tbs sesame oil
¼ to 1 chilli
a piece of cucumber
1 cooked beetroot
¼ of a red pepper
1tbs sesame seeds
salt & pepper
Grate the garlic clove into the bottom of a salad bowl and add lime juice, soy sauce and the oils.
Peel and cut the ginger into fine matchsticks and finely chop the chilli, use as much or as little chilli as you wish or leave it out and add some chilli oil to the dressing.
Deseed the cucumber and cut into thin batons, cut the beetroot into small cubes and the pepper into thin strips. Add all of these to the salad bowl and mix well.
Toast the sesame seeds on a dry pan until they are just turning darker and sprinkle over the salad. Very finely slice the scallions and tear the lettuce into bite sized pieces and add to the salad.
Toss before serving and taste adding salt and pepper if necessary.