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I’ve made chopped salads before and love the simplicity of the concept – chop a whole load of salad ingredients together with a splash of dressing. Yup, that’s it. It appeals to me when I’m working at home and want a quick but healthy sort of lunch.
It may seem daft to sort of mush up all those lovely ingredients into one pile of finely chopped salad, but I think it actually does something to the flavour. By chopping things together the flavours begin to mingle to create something new and wonderful.
For this green salad, I started by chopping together lettuce (a crisp crunchy lettuce like cos or baby gem work best – soft leaved lettuce will just disappear into nothing), cucumber, spring onions, and parsley (but you could use herbs and a mixture would be lovely).
Then I chopped up an avocado and mixed everything together in a bowl. Next, I made a hollow in the salad and added my dressing ingredients – a place of mustard (I used Dijon), vinegar (I used red wine vinegar), extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.
Then give everything a really good mix together so that all the ingredients and flavours can start to mingle.
At this point taste it and adjust the dressing flavourings to taste. You can also add in other bits and pieces – I crumbled in some Cheddar cheese.
Finally, I mounded it into my bowl and topped with a generous sprinkle of crumbled Cheddar. A fantastic way to eat a lot of vegetables – in this case a lot of green ones – and a different take on the salad.
What do you put into your chopped salad? Pieces of crispy bacon appeal to me.
I have been wanting to make and devour this meal ever since I spied it. What would we do without Nigel Slater? This recipe was found in his book Tender, which is fabulous, and everyone should read it.
We had rain yesterday and this morning, but by the time we got home from work it was hot and sunny again. A perfect excuse to use the barbeque, if only to chargrill some courgettes.
The green lentils are boiled until cooked, then mixed into a dressing of red wine vinegar and sherry vinegar (I substituted sherry for cider as this is what I had), olive oil, finely chopped garlic, sliced spring onions, salt and pepper.
For the courgettes, you slice them thinly (I used a selection of green and yellow), pop them in a colander and sprinkle with salt. You leave them for at least half an hour, then wash them and pat them dry.
Chargrill them, then toss them in extra virgin olive oil, finely chopped parsley, salt and pepper.
And finely, the ham. This was excellent quality, acorn-fed Spanish ham. That’s it. You don’t do anything to it, just lay out the slices on your plate, or tear them up a bit.
Altogether on a plate this is a beautiful combination of tastes and textures. Eaten outside it is, of course, all the better.