Salad is a strange term that really when you think about it doesn’t mean anything. It is as descriptive as ‘main’ or ‘pudding’. That means there are thousands and thousands of permutations of ingredients that could be called salad and as it is often an accompaniment you can tailor the salad to whatever you are serving it with.
Summer and autumn are so rich in salad ingredients that ebb and flow and change in texture and taste with the season. I like to take what is in season and looks delicious and take inspiration from the shop or market shelves and keep it simple and keep it fresh. Let the in-season salads shine through – usually without a dressing. And if you do want a dressing keep that simple with olive oil and lemon juice. Let the ingredients shine in their most natural raw form. Complex and complete meal salads have their place (I love warm new potato and french bean salad) but often a really simple salad is the perfect partner for a meal. A dish that adds texture without heaviness and complements its partner dish perfectly.
Going back to my summer holidays there was one salad that stood out: Cabbage and Carrot Salad. It was consistently fresh and available across the island and it sounds ridiculously simple – and it is. It was just cabbage and carrot. No dressing, no seasoning, nothing. Perfect. That meant you can dress it how you want – if you want. And to be honest it really doesn’t need a dressing. Freshly sliced cabbage and carrot with a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds for a bit of extra depth. Fabulous. I ate it with Briam and the Cabbage and Carrot Salad lifted the Briam to new heights, adding depth of flavour and texture to a unctuous vegetables that had been baked in olive oil. It was the perfect partnership.