Cook with Jamie: Forget soggy lettuce, try beef and watercress or crispy chorizo and squid for a truly stunning salad
21:56 GMT, 22 June 2012
Vive la salad revolution! Jamie Oliver shares some of his favourite recipes
Last week I shared some really exciting salads with you – all made from great flavour combinations that will really blow your socks off and make you fall in love with salads again. I’m continuing that theme this week with another four simple, but knockout, salads.
I think a lot of people still primarily associate salads with lettuce, or with those little limp garnishes you sometimes get on the side of a meal in a restaurant. Certainly I remember when I was a kid pretty much all you could buy was iceberg lettuce, cucumbers and tomatoes.
Luckily for us, things are definitely looking up these days and we’re now totally spoilt when it comes to salads – there are so many exciting ingredients out there.
I’m all for embracing different leaves to give you colour, crispness, sweetness, bitterness or peppery heat, but here I’ve opened it up to make some more interesting and unusual ingredients the hero – well, the ones you may not expect to be seeing in salads anyway.
I’m talking beautiful rare roast beef with a watercress sauce-come-dressing, a Spanish-style celebration of crispy squid and chorizo, wonderful soft warm pears with crunchy pecans and crispy bacon, and a great combo of shaved beets and apples. Absolutely delicious.
What I want to demonstrate is that salads don’t have to just be about lettuce. And as with any other dish, they’re only ever going to be as good as the quality of their ingredients. Buy whatever produce is fresh, colourful and in season, and then think about working all the flavour sensations together: salty, sweet, sour, bitter. Vive la salad revolution!
JAMIE'S TOP TIPS
Recently I’ve really got into using soft herbs such as parsley, basil and mint, and edible flowers such as nasturtiums and pansies in salads. They can totally transform and elevate even the most humble of veg, and the flowers especially will add a beautiful burst of colour.
Mix up your leaves. Any inner leaf or new bud on most veg will work a treat. Baby shoots from the cabbage family are delicious, as are the small shooting leaves of Swiss chard or beetroot. And don’t forget the curly little shoots on the pea plant – a real bonus.
CRISPY CHORIZO AND SQUID SALAD
SERVES 6 AS A STARTER
1 red onion, finely sliced Sherry vinegar 100g (3oz) raw chorizo, finely sliced 4 cleaned squid, tentacles reserved, finely sliced Olive oil a bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked
Pile up the sliced red onion on a platter, add a splash of sherry vinegar and gently toss so it starts to pickle slightly. Set aside. Meanwhile, fry the chorizo in a pan over a medium heat for 3-4 minutes, or until it’s crispy and all the fat has rendered out. Add a good splash of sherry vinegar and toss it all around, then transfer to a plate with a slotted spoon and set aside. Season the squid tubes and tentacles, then add to the chorizo pan (you’ll need to do this in batches) and fry over a high heat for 2-3 minutes, or until golden. Quickly toss the parsley leaves with the red onion. Scatter over the chorizo, then top with the fried squid and eat straight away.
WARM BAKED PEAR
SERVES 8 AS A STARTER
3 ripe pears, peeled, cored and quartered 4 rashers of good-quality smoked streaky bacon 2tbsp maple syrup
50g (1oz) pecans
1 frise lettuce
2 punnets of mixed baby cress
1 bag of watercress
FOR THE MUSTARD DRESSING
tsp wholegrain mustard
Extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat the oven to 190C/gas 5. Pop the pears in a small roasting tray and drape the bacon over the top. Cook in the oven for 10 minutes then drizzle over the maple syrup, add the pecans and jiggle the tray to coat everything. Return to the oven for another 15-20 minutes, until the pears are soft and sweet, the nuts slightly toasted and caramelised and the bacon crispy. Meanwhile, get rid of any tatty outer leaves from the lettuce, then click off the larger dark leaves and save them for another day. Wash the pale inner leaves, dry them in a salad spinner, and place in a serving dish. Snip the mixed cress over the top and add the watercress. Combine the dressing ingredients in a small cup or jar and take to the table with the salad. Make sure everyone is round the table then toss the salad leaves with the dressing, soft pears, toasted nuts and crispy bacon and get into it immediately.
SERVES 6 AS A STARTER OR A SIDE
200g (7oz) soft goat’s cheese
50ml (2fl oz) milk
3 large raw beetroots, different colours if possible (such as golden, candy and red), peeled and trimmed
a bunch of fresh mint, leaves picked and finely sliced
Whizz the goat’s cheese and milk in a food processor until blended to the consistency of thick cream. Season to taste, then spoon over a large platter. Finely slice the raw beetroots and apples (cores and all) using a mandolin. Toss them together with a little drizzle of rapeseed oil and a tiny splash of cider vinegar. Pile the veg and fruit on top of the goat’s cheese on the platter, sprinkle over the mint and serve immediately.
PUB-STYLE BEEF AND WATERCRESS SALAD
12 large slices of rare roast beef
Extra-virgin olive oil
a bag of watercress
1 bag of Tyrrell Mixed Root Vegetable Crisps (optional)
FOR THE WATERCRESS SAUCE
200g (7oz) natural yoghurt
2 bags of watercress
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
To make the watercress sauce, whizz all the ingredients together in a food processor until smooth, and then season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Spoon the sauce onto a platter, then top with waves of sliced roast beef, drizzle with olive oil, scatter the watercress over and serve with vegetable crisps on the side, if you like.
SPECIAL OFFER: Subscribe to Jamie Magazine for just 29.95 (saving 25%) and get a free mezzaluna – great for chopping herbs – worth 18. Call 0844 249 0478 or log on to jamiemagazine.com/subscribe/dm11. UK only, over-18s only