Making the most of new-season lettuces with this colourful and tasty garden salad.
Sliding the white grill aside revealed a leafy mix of lettuces at my feet. Over May and June, mum had planted tiny shoots from a packet bought at the shops. Amidst the morning frost and evening chill, little green sprouts emerged from nutrient rich humus, forming clusters of velvety leaves.
An oak barrel, sawn in half, mark the centre of our backyard. It was once the home to a delicate blueberry sapling which choked in the heat of summer. At one stage, Tiny Tim tomatoes grew in their hundreds, and not too long ago green peas were pulled and podded fresh, from vines that creeped up a chicken wire fence. Nitrates gathered from the pea production fed the soil, which is now host to wasabi and frisee lettuces, a buok choi plant that has since sprouted butter-coloured flowers, and some rogue lemon thyme.
The lettuces were in such abundance that I didn’t feel guilty about snipping the leaves young. A quick rinse, then a soak in iced water allowed them to crisp. With the leaves and a few other additions from the garden and pantry, I put together this little number. Feel free to use any leafy greens such as baby spinach, mesclun or even whole lettuces. I love adding fresh or dried herbs to a salad dressing. It really helps to intensify the flavour and texture of the salad leaves.
Prep time 15 mins | Serves 4
- ¼ cup each baby butter, frisee, wasabi and red lettuces, washed, dried
- 100g carrots, washed
- 1 small red onion peeled
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp mixed dried herbs
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Make the salad. Add the washed and dried salad leaves to a serving bowl or plate. Slice the carrots into matchsticks (julienne) using a sharp knife. To julienne, slice the carrots lengthways into 1mm-thick strips, then cut the strips into 1mm pieces. Slice the onion in half, then slice into 1mm pieces. Add the onion and carrots to the salad bowl.
Make the dressing. Combine the oil, vinegar and herbs in a small screw-top jar. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then close the jar and shake until oil and vinegar emulsify. Dress the salad and serve.
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Happy Cooking and Keep Smiling,