The Currabinny Cooks show us how to introduce winter salads into our meals
In winter, the general feeling around what we eat is about warmth, comfort and a little bit of decadence.
This seasonal loosening of belts and revelling in lots of delicious carbs is wonderful and necessary but too much of a good thing can be just a tad fatiguing.
There is a brief moment in January, usually not long after the intense gorging we do over the Christmas period where we crave anything but the usual hearty, carby, rich food. When this happens, it is good to have a few simple, delicious and seasonal winter salad options in your back pocket.
It can, naturally, be challenging to some extent to achieve a truly seasonal salad without the usual abundance of leaves, herbs, fruits and vegetables which are easy to eat raw.
We generally aren’t too strict in terms of allowing the addition of a rogue cucumber or spring onion, which can now be found easily, all year round. There are, however a lot other great options that requires us to be a little bit more open minded about what makes a salad.
These recipes are all about simple, humble and seasonal ingredients, brought together in an unpretentious and unrefined manner. These winter salads should satisfy your lighter cravings during the cold weather months.
Lambs lettuce is superbly suited to winter growing, unlike many salad leaves, which makes it perfect for any winter salad cravings. This hardy little variety of lettuce is crispy, bright and slightly nutty in flavour. Lambs lettuce is also absolutely wonderful in terms of nutrition, being full to the brim with vitamin C and also has more iron than spinach. In wintertime, when often our immune system takes a little bit of a hit, a seasonal salad leaf, full of goodness is really a blessing. As with most salads we make, we enjoy the simplicity of just a few ingredients, barely brought together but satisfying because there aren’t too many different elements fighting for attention. Blue cheese, red onion and creme fraiche are all very complex flavours and adding too much else would make this dish overly complicated.
In a small bowl, whisk together the creme fraiche, extra virgin olive oil and cider vinegar and season lightly.
Arrange the washed lambs lettuce in a service bowl mixed together with the sliced red onion and parsley.
Season lightly with sea salt and black pepper.
Shave the blue cheese into thin wafers over the salad and drizzle over the dressing.
This is perhaps a surprising combination of ingredients at first glance. Sweet cabbage, partially marinated in sharp lemon juice and covered in an Asian style dressing with soy sauce, honey and tomato puree. The addition of tarragon, amongst largely Asian flavours, is an admittedly controversial choice of herb to garnish with but trust us, it works, albeit using a moderate amount.
Shred the red and white cabbage finely and place in a large bowl. Squeeze over the juice of half a lemon and mix through with your hands. Leave to the side.
We like to use a medium kilner jar to make the dressing for this one. Simply combine all of the ingredients for the salad dressing, including the diced shallot in the jar, close the lid and shake until very well combined.
This dressing would keep in the fridge for a week or so and just needs to be shaken before each use.
To finish this salad, just shake your dressing up and drizzle all over your lemony shredded cabbage, add the chopped tarragon and loosely mix through, finishing with the toasted sesame seeds sprinkled over.