Salads simply tasty

THIS WEEK we feature lots and lots of salads, just what we all yearn for during this unexpected spell of beautiful weather. Recently chef and cookery teacher Barny Haughton from Bristol came to Ballymaloe Cookery School to do a whole morning on salads.

Barny cooked his first serious meal in St Tropez aged nine, when there was a Saturday market on the harbour side and Bridget Bardot hung out in the Hotel de Paris drinking crème de menthe.

He was, for 24 years, a restaurateur/chef in Bristol, and for seven of these, event caterer to the Prince of Wales.

He is a member of the Academy of Culinary Arts, chair of judges of the Soil Association’s Organic Food Awards, 2007 winner of the Glennfiddich Food and Drinks Independent Spirit Award for his pioneering work in food training and education in the restaurant industry, a teacher at the University of Gastronomy in Italy, Chef Ambassador to Slow Food UK, and founder of Bordeaux Quay and the Cookery School at Bordeaux Quay in Bristol.

He appears regularly at food festivals and conferences giving demonstrations and teaches in Bristol and at other cookery schools and colleges in the UK. He is a consultant on sustainable food systems and ‘eco-gastronomy’ advising businesses, restaurants, schools and community centres. He also teaches cooking to students, teachers and school cooks.

Barny also now runs the Budleigh Farm Project in Somerset with his partner Gaye Donaldson. Budleigh Farm is a 14 acre mixed ‘model’ small-holding, shortly to include a farm shop and cookery school workshops. 00441823421300 barny@barnyhaughton.com

Here is a selection of the delicious salads he made for us.

Summer Fruit Salad with Pea-Shoots and Broad Beans with Ricotta

Serves 4

¼ cucumber, peeled, halved longways, de-seeded and thinly sliced

A little salt

Juice of 1 lemon

500g (18oz) mix of fresh raspberries, strawberries and redcurrants

400g (14oz) broad beans, podded, blanched and peeled

2 tbsp chopped fresh mint leaves

A large handful of peashoots or rocket

100g (3½oz) fresh ricotta

A little pepper

Vinaigrette:

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

3 tbsp olive oil

Salt and pepper

Toss the sliced cucumber in a little salt and the lemon juice. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Make a dressing with balsamic vinegar, olive oil and seasoning.

Drain the sliced cucumber of any water. Gently mix the fruit together with the broad beans and mint.

Arrange the fruit mixture, cucumber, pea-shoots and ricotta on a serving dish and drizzle with balsamic dressing. Finish with a little black pepper.

Puy Lentil, Spelt Grain, Bean and Vegetable Salad

Main course for 6 people

100g (3½oz) dried puy lentils

4 bay leaves

100g (3½oz) spelt grain

100g (3½oz) dried borlotti or other, soaked in cold water for 24 hours

A little salt and olive oil

1 aubergine

2 red peppers

2 courgettes

Salt and pepper

30g (1oz) raisins, soaked until plump but firm

2 cloves garlic

Big bunch parsley

Dressing: 75ml (3fl oz) red wine vinegar, soy sauce and olive oil: 1 part vinegar, 1 part soy sauce and 3 parts olive oil

Wash and cook the lentils with a couple of bay leaves and as little water as you can get away with, but always enough to cover. When cooked (don’t under cook; they should be firm but absolutely not crunchy), leave to cool, then drain, reserving the liquor for soup.

Cook the spelt and beans in the same way. Mix them together with a little salt and olive oil.

Dice the aubergines, peppers and courgettes into 2cm (¾ inch) cubes and separately season with salt and pepper and fry until they take a good colour but are still a little crunchy.

Fine slice the garlic, fry until nutty brown.

Coarsely chop the parsley, including an tender stalky bits.

Toss everything together with the dressing.

Feta cheese crumbled over this lot is lovely but not necessary.

Smoked Mackerel, Fennel and Orange Salad

Serves 8

1 head fennel

A pinch of salt

1 juicy, sweet orange

Pepper

A sprig of dill

6 small waxy potatoes, new if in season

1 bay leaf

1 slice of lemon

225ml (8fl oz) water

Drizzle of olive oil

4 fillets of smoked mackerel

2 large handfuls watercress

Vinaigrette:

3 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp white wine vinegar

Salt and pepper

To finish:

Freshly squeezed lemon juice

Finely slice the fennel long-ways and toss in a pinch of salt. Segment the orange, slice into small pieces and add to the fennel. Squeeze remaining juice from the orange over the fennel and mix gently together with a little freshly ground black pepper and the chopped dill.

Slice the potatoes long-ways into ½ cm (¼ inch) thick slices. Put them in a pan with a bay leaf, a slice of lemon, a cup of water and a drizzle of olive oil. Cook gently until the liquor has evaporated. Add a little more water if necessary. Leave to cool.

Take the skin off the mackerel fillets and break them up into bite size pieces.

To assemble the salad: Toss the potatoes and fennel together. Dress the watercress with a little vinaigrette, mix gently with the fennel and potatoes and transfer to salad bowl.

Scatter the mackerel pieces over this. Finish with a squeeze of lemon juice.

Roast Chicken Salad Sicilian Style

Serves 6 people

1 x 1.5kg (3lb 5oz) organic chicken

A clove of garlic

10 needles rosemary

Salt and pepper

A little olive oil

½ a lemon

A clove of garlic

2 bay leaves

12 small waxy potatoes, new if in season

A little olive oil

1 bay leaf

1-2 slices of lemon

A good pinch of salt

1 tbsp sultanas

Small bunch parsley leaves

Zest of ½ lemon

1 tbsp pine nuts

½ tbsp capers

Dressing:

Olive oil

Red wine vinegar

Balsamic vinegar

Chop the garlic, rosemary to a paste and add salt and pepper and a little olive oil. Rub well into the chicken.

Stuff the chicken with half a lemon, a clove of garlic and a couple of bay leaves. Roast in the normal way.

Leave to cool and strip the meat off the carcass, removing sinew and any gristly bits.

Reserve the chicken carcass for stock.

Cut the potatoes into 2cm (¾-inch) thick slices, place in sauce pan with barely enough water to cover, a splash of olive oil, a bay leaf, a slice or two of lemon and a good pinch of salt. Bring to a gentle simmer and cover with parchment or lid., but Leave a little gap so that the steam evaporates and by the time the potatoes are cooked (about 20 minutes) there is barely any liquid in the pan. Leave to cool.

Put the potatoes in a bowl with sultanas, parsley, lemon zest, pine nuts and capers and toss together.

Make a dressing of six parts olive oil to one part red wine vinegar and one part balsamic vinegar.

Toss together with other ingredients in bowl. Add generous quantity of dressing and serve.

Lovely with broad beans or peas as well.

Chicory, Watercress, Apple and Hazelnut Salad

The dressing for this salad doesn’t need the more robust flavour of olive oil. Groundnut or hazelnut or a mix of both are best, but sunflower will do fine.

Serves 8

A handful of whole unblanched hazelnuts

2 bunch watercress

2 bulbs chicory

4 medium-sized tart/sweet crisp apples eg Worcester, Orange Pippen

Dressing:

2 tbsp cider vinegar

Pinch of salt

10 tbsp groundnut oil/hazelnut oil

To serve:

A small bunch of chives cut into inch or so lengths

Maldon sea salt

Toss the hazelnuts in a little oil and a sprinkle of salt and roast in a hot oven until toasty brown. Leave to cool. Break them into coarse pieces with a rolling pin.

Make the dressing in a large mixing bowl. Mix the vinegar and a pinch of salt along with the groundnut or hazelnut oil into an emulsion.

Remove the more fibrous stalks from the watercress and separate the leaves of chicory.

Cut the apples into slim wedges, removing the core with a sharp knife.

Just before serving, gently toss the chicory, watercress and apple in the dressing and transfer to serving dish. Sprinkle liberally with the broken hazelnuts and chives and a pinch of Maldon sea salt. Serve with baked potatoes or good bread.

Foolproof food

Salad Paysanne

This is found everywhere in France and ; sometimes named after the region – La salade de Perigord, for instance, and meaning peasant salad. Classic ingredients may include duck confit, duck pate, duck or chicken livers, croutons, bacon, cured duck or goose giblets (heart, gizzard, neck), along with frisee or chicory, parsley and capers.

The dressing needs to be made with a good red wine vinegar.

Serves 6 people

4 slices good bread

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

2 cooked cured duck legs, torn into small pieces, bones discarded, skin retained

2 big handfuls of frisee, washed, dried and torn into fork-size pieces

Chives or parsley

A small handful green beans – if in season

1 dstsp full of drained capers

50g (2oz) lardons or 2 slices streaky bacon cut into strips

100g (3½oz) duck or chicken livers, trimmed

Dressing:

Olive oil and or walnut oil

Red wine vinegar

To make the croutons: Cut 4 thick slices of good stale bread into bite-sized cubes and toss them with olive oil and seasoning in a bowl. Transfer to a baking tray and bake in a medium oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Fry the duck skin gently until crisp and not brown. Break into little pieces.

Make the dressing: 5 parts oil, 2 part vinegar; a standard dressing should be 5:1, but you need more vinegar to meet the richness and fat of the meat in this salad. Put frisee, croutons, crispy duck skin, chives or parsley and capers in a big bowl.

In a hot pan fry the lardons until crispy, then the livers until brown on the outside but pink inside. Fry the duck immediately after just to warm it through and add to the bowl. Dress, toss and eat.

Hot tip

Denny Lane Gourmet Foods in Tralee is loosely modelled on the Avoca style where customers queue as they come in the door with most of the menu on display in large serveovers, salads, quiches, sandwiches, desserts and cake stands on the top displaying the biscuits and buns. They cater very well for coeliacs, all their soups and chowder are gluten free. Delicious – Gluten Free Bakery in Ballincollig, Co Cork, supply them with gluten free bread, brownies, etc. Check their facebook page. Julianne Reen tries to source most of her produce locally. Tel: 066 7194319; email: sweets@dennylanecafe.ie; website: www.dennylanecafe.ie

Tipperary Food Producers Network will host their annual Long Table Dinner in Tipperary to showcase local produce to encourage people to buy local on August 25. For details contact Pat Whelan 0872433100


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