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Very exciting news – we ate our first homegrown from the garden salad of 2009 tonight!  Some may think that I am acting a little too silly about something that could be considered trivial, but if you’ve ever tasted homegrown salad leaves, if you’ve ever tried to eat with the seasons, then your first salad of the year is a very special thing indeed.  If you haven’t done either of those two things, you must.

We needed to eat up some Jersey Royal new potatoes (from Northern Harvest), so a simple salad was dreamed up…new potatoes…smoked trout…lemon mayo dressing…and salad leaves from the garden.  This is one of my favourite combinations and possibly one of the easiest meals to make.

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There is something deeply wonderful about picking up my colander, pulling on my boots and wandering down the garden to pick the first salad leaves.  After so many months of brown, dead, rotting earth, of dormant plants and deep, earthy meals, that first delicate snap as you pinch off a pert green leaf is a signal of good things to come. 

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Enough of describing how it feels to pick the salad, and on to what I actually collected for our tea.  From the garden I picked the following leaves: red oakleaf, baby cos, a selection of oriental saladini, lambs lettuce, buckler leaf sorrel.  To this I added some chives and mint. 

We boiled the new potatoes in salted water, drained, and tossed with a knob of butter and the finely sliced mint.  Not to forget a good sprinkle of salt and grind of pepper.  The smoked trout (from The Cheshire Smokehouse) was flaked over the potatoes, and the homegrown salad simply placed beside them.  No dressing, just a tiny drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.  To finish off the potatoes, I added lemon juice to a spoonful of mayonnaise until it reached a slightly runny consistency and spooned it over the potatoes and trout.

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An utterly delicious and satisfying dinner.

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