I had to contain myself and not add more ingredients to the title. I get irritated by restaurants that take up 3 lines in the menu to put in every last little detail of the ingredients of a dish. So as I was about to add ‘toasted pine nuts’ and ‘croutons’ and ‘oregano’, I held back. Well, not completely it seems as I had to tell you here!
Yes, another salad. Gosh, The Single Gourmet Traveller has gone a bit healthy, you’ll be thinking. But summer is here – well, sort of. The sun has been shining today, albeit there was also a cold wind that whipped round you if you were out in the open. And, of course, the wonderful Twickenham Farmers’ Market was full of glorious spring-into-summer things on Saturday morning. I’d bought the most amazing bag of organic salad at the Chegworth Valley Farm stall the week before …
… but even at 10.00 am on Saturday morning, they’d sold out. They’d apparently had quite a few so it seems the rest of Twickenham has discovered how lovely they are. I dithered. Mmm. There were bags of organic spinach, herbs … and then I spied a bag of ‘Red Frills’ and couldn’t resist. And I’m so glad I didn’t because here we have a whole post dedicated to red frills!
I also made a beeline for the Alham Wood buffalo stall where you can buy pieces of buffalo meat, buffalo yoghurt and gorgeous cheeses. I used their ‘Tiny Little Cheeses’ recently in a beetroot dish and loved the cheese.
It’s a bit like fresh ricotta. It reminds me of being in Bari, Puglia, in southern Italy nearly 3 years ago with my daughter Nicola and the owner of the masseria where we stayed, Rita, would go off early in the morning to buy fresh, still warm, little ricottas for our breakfast, over which we’d drizzle rosemary honey. It was the memory of this that made me – at the last moment – add some honey to the salad’s dressing. I made just a simple olive oil and red wine vinegar dressing, with seasoning and the honey to sweeten it.
I decided to also add some roasted pine nuts to the salad.
Then I made some croutons, cutting a thick slice of Ruben’s Bakehouse sourdough bread into cubes and frying them in some olive oil. Once they were nice and brown I transferred them onto some kitchen towel to drain.
And then, of course, there were the vegetables to grill.
I thickly sliced some red onion, halved some tomatoes – a colourful mix of different colours – and cut a red pepper into largish chunks. I drizzled over some olive oil, scattered over some dried oregano and seasoned. Then I popped it all under the hot grill and cooked until starting to brown at the edges.
Then all I had to do was assemble the salad. I had a lovely new Polish plate that was perfect. Jonathan and Lyndsey had found them in the local TK Maxx! I put a big handful of the Red Frills salad onto the plate. I arranged the grilled vegetables over the top as nicely as I could. I then sprinkled over the roasted pine nuts, added the croutons and laid the buffalo soft cheese on top. I’d originally planned to break it up as I’d done for the beetroot recipe, but in the end thought it was so pretty I’d put it whole, in place of honour, on top of the salad. I drizzled over the dressing and put just a little sprig of fresh oregano on top of the cheese. Supper was ready!
It was SO delicous: the wonderful, slightly peppery red frills leaves; the soft and flavourful soft cheese. The sweet pine nuts and crunchy croutons added a nice texture and I always love grilled vegetables like these. There’s really nothing like the flavour of a grilled pepper. It was a lovely supper and goes to show that healthy can be super tasty and delicious too!