Crunchy Winter Salad
Over the past few months we experimented with replacing our weekly farmers market visit with the purchase of a food bag. The idea behind the food bags is great - eat delicious, local and seasonal produce and fit your weekly cooking plans around what you buy. The constraint of having your key ingredients chosen for you should, in theory, encourage you to experiment a bit. One week after consulting our cookbooks we planned all of our meals and tried a few recipes we hadn’t even thought of, thanks to a few obscure ingredients. Another time we came home and were inspired to knock up a salad with the new season carrots, fennel and baby cos (below). The salad only takes a few minutes to put together and hardly requires a recipe, however it is the best way to eat deliciously fresh root vegetables. While we ate it simply with some fresh sourdough with avocado, it would also go well with some fish or a few lamb chops for dinner.
- Fresh mixed carrots (purple, orange and yellow)
- 1 Large fennel bulb with its tips
- 4 Spring onions
- 2 Baby cos lettuce (almost any lettuce would do)
- 1 Punnet of cherry tomatoes
- 2 Lemons
- Good extra virgin olive oil
Salads are very easy to make, but there are a few tricks that I learnt working in kitchens that make all of the difference. Use a vegetable peeler or mandolin to slice the carrots. Then, thinly slice the fennel, quarter the cherry tomatoes and rip up the baby cos leaves. Use strong flavours like onion sparingly and slice thinly and at an angle. In place of a herb, finely chop up a good handful of the fennel's tips.
Prepare the dressing in a container, with 1 part oil to 2-3 part lemon juice and good pinches of salt and pepper and shake well. Taste and adjust to your liking.
Put all of the ingredients the largest bowl you can find and pour over the dressing. Mix everything together with your hands. It may seem strange, but a salad mixed by hand does in fact taste better.