It’s with great pleasure that I can finally introduce my latest (of eight, in fact) book to all of Bite’s readers. Savour — Salads For All Seasons is exactly what it says on the cover. It’s a book of more than 100 recipes focusing on salads for any time of the year. It’s a book that my friends in the UK are thrilled to have in their kitchens as they say it is helping them rethink what a meal can be.
The book has simple salads that make great side dishes, it has artistically plated ones that make a great starter or main course, and some “toss it all together randomly” satisfying family salads to put in the middle of the table.
In my introduction I talk about what makes a great salad — which I feel comes down to contrasting textures. I talk about dressings that combine acidity and oil in a good balance — depending on what components are in the salad itself — for example, rein back on the vinegar in salads containing citrus fruit, but dial it up in a sweet and slightly fatty ham hock salad. I also had to include a slightly updated condensed milk mayonnaise on the last page in homage to those we made in my childhood in Whanganui when I thought that all mayonnaise was made that way! It wasn’t until I moved to Melbourne that I realised it should contain egg yolks and oil.
Lastly, a big thank you to my mate Yotam Ottolenghi for the book’s “tummy hug” cover quote.The spiced cauliflower salad makes a great side dish, fantastic with a braised shoulder of mutton, or grilled lamb chops. Using two grains in the puy lentil and quinoa salad makes it feel worthy and wise and the flavours literally pop in your mouth — use several different coloured grapes and tomatoes for a good visual effect. The venison, cabbage and curried pumpkin salad is warming and will make use of the delicious pumpkins around at this time of the year.
Serves 6 as a side
For the cauliflower
1 large cauliflower, green leaves and excess stalk removed
1 red chilli, chopped
4 garlic cloves, sliced
3 Tbsp sesame seeds
2 Tbsp nigella seeds
4 green cardamom pods, crushed
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 small handful parsley leaves
1 small handful mixed soft herbs (e.g. mint, basil, tarragon)
For the tahini yoghurt dressing
2 Tbsp tahini paste
1 Tbsp lemon juice
100ml (scant ½ cup) Greek-style plain yogurt
½ tsp finely grated lemon zest
2 Tbsp olive oil
- Heat the oven to 180C.
- Cut the cauliflower into florets and place in a roasting dish with the chilli, garlic, sesame seeds, nigella seeds, cardamom, 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a little salt. Toss everything together and roast, tossing occasionally, until the cauliflower browns at the edges and the garlic become golden, about 30 minutes. If the garlic begins to darken before the cauliflower is ready, add 2 tablespoons of water to the roasting dish. Remove from the oven and leave to cool (unless you want to serve it warm).
- Mix the tahini to a slurry with the lemon juice and 5 tablespoons of water. Stir in the yogurt, lemon zest and olive oil. Season with salt.
- To serve, toss the cauliflower with the dressing and herbs. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Serves 6 as a starter or side dish
200g (2 cups) black and green grapes
200g cherry tomatoes (use several colours)
1 banana shallot, thinly sliced
½ medium-heat red chilli, including the seeds, chopped
2 Tbsp pomegranate molasses
4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
200g (1 cup) puy lentils, rinsed and drained
4 garlic cloves, sliced
1 tsp finely chopped thyme leaves
1 tsp finely chopped rosemary leaves
1 tsp finely chopped oregano leaves
1 bay leaf
150g (1 cup) quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 handful parsley leaves
30 mint leaves
20 basil leaves
- Heat the oven to 170C.
- Put the grapes, cherry tomatoes, shallot, chilli, pomegranate molasses and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a roasting dish with a little salt and pepper. Stir together, then bake until the grapes and cherry tomatoes have popped a little, about 30 minutes or so. Keep warm.
- Meanwhile, cook the lentils. Put them in a medium saucepan and pour on enough water to cover the lentils by 4cm. Bring to the boil, skimming any foam that rises off the surface. Reduce the heat to a rapid simmer, then stir in the garlic, thyme, rosemary, oregano, bay leaf and the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Put a lid on the pan and cook for 30 minutes, adding 1 teaspoon of flaky salt in the last 10 minutes. Don’t let the water level fall below the surface of the lentils: top up with a little boiling water if needed. Taste a lentil to make sure they’re done. Keep warm.
- When the lentils have been cooking for about 15 minutes, cook the quinoa. Bring 1 litre of water to the boil in a large pan and add the quinoa. Cook for 9–12 minutes, by which point the quinoa will still have a little bite but will have softened in texture. Drain in a fine sieve and leave to cool.
- To serve, toss the lentils and quinoa with the parsley and mint. Taste for seasoning. Mix the basil gently into the grapes and sit this on top, then drizzle with the roasting juices. Serve at room temperature.
Serves 4 as a main course
4 x 150g pieces venison loin or leg steaks
¼ small savoy cabbage, core removed and thinly shredded
1 Tbsp english mustard
3 Tbsp cider vinegar, or other white vinegar
1 tsp caster sugar
500g pumpkin flesh, cut into chunks
½ tsp cumin seeds
20 curry leaves
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp sunflower oil
1 red onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 star anise
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
5cm piece ginger, peeled and cut into matchsticks or coarsely chopped or grated
1 red chilli, chopped
2 tsp fish sauce
5cm lemongrass stem from the lower end, two outer layers discarded, insides thinly sliced
4 kaffir lime leaves
300ml coconut milk
- Heat the oven to 170C. Sit the venison on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and leave to come to room temperature.
- Put the shredded cabbage into a bowl. Mix the mustard, vinegar, sugar and ½ teaspoon of salt together, then pour over the cabbage and stir to coat. Cover the bowl and set aside.
- Put the pumpkin in a roasting dish, along with the cumin seeds and curry leaves. Drizzle on 1 teaspoon of the sesame oil and season with ½ teaspoon of salt. Toss together and bake for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, place a medium pan over a medium heat. Add the sunflower oil, onion and star anise and cook until the onion begins to caramelise, stirring often. Add the garlic, ginger and chilli and cook for an additional 2 minutes, stirring. Add the fish sauce and cook for 30 seconds, then add the lemongrass, lime leaves and coconut milk and bring to the boil. Cook over a medium heat for 4 minutes.
- Remove the roasting dish from the oven and pour the curry sauce over the pumpkin. Return to the oven and continue cooking until the pumpkin is cooked and coloured. Turn the oven off and keep the pumpkin warm in the oven.
- Meanwhile, cook your venison. Place a heavy-based saucepan over a medium–high heat and wait until it gives off a blue haze. Brush the steaks with the remaining 2 teaspoons of sesame oil and lightly season with salt and pepper on both sides. Place the steaks in the pan and cook for 3 minutes. Turn over and cook to your preferred degree of doneness. (If you like it medium–rare, and the steaks are 3cm thick, they’ll need just another 2 minutes.) Remove the steaks and rest them on a warm plate, covered with foil, for 5–8 minutes.
- To serve, spoon the pumpkin on to four warmed plates and lay the cabbage across it. Slice the venison 1cm thick and lay on top, then spoon over the sauce. Serve warm.
Recipes from Savour: Salads for all Seasons by Peter Gordon.