Mediterranean Salad

I love this salad with crusty bread for lunch as the combination of flavours is sooo good.  It’s great as a starter, or serve it with simply grilled or BBQ’d meat, poultry or fish – but you do need the bread to mop up the juices.  If you think salads are boring then this will change your mind as this Salad positively oozes sunshine and sings of summer holidays in the Med

It is, what is apparently called, a “composed” salad.  This, I think,  is just a cheffy word for a salad that’s arranged beautifully on a plate.  It does take a little work to prepare all the different vegetables but nothing too onerous.

Here I used aubergines, courgettes (sorry Chloe, you have my permission to leave those) roasted peppers, tomatoes and soft fried red onion. I also added olives, Parmesan, thyme, garlic and, of course, basil.  (You could leave out the Parmesan or use a vegan cheese if you wanted this to be vegan) I then soaked it all in a fragrant balsamic dressing.   But that could just be a starting point.  You could add all sorts of other things leaving out what you don’t want (see there is hope Chloe! ) or just layering up more to up the complexity.  How about adding thinly sliced fennel, those roasted aubergine hearts you have in a jar  and scattering over toasted pine nuts?

Ingredients

  • 2 medium aubergine
  • 2 small or 1 large courgette
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 red onion
  • 12 black olives (approx), halved
  • 12 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tsp thyme leaves
  • handful torn basil leaves
  • parmesan shavings
  • slivers from 1/4 clove garlic
  • olive oil

For the dressing

  • 8tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3tbsp balsamic vinegar (to personal taste)
  • 2tbsp water
  • salt and pepper

Method

  1. Slice aubergines to thickness of pound coin. Put on baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper and roast in hot oven (190c) foe approximately 25 mins, turning once until soft and browned.
  2. Slice courgette into discs of pound coin and cook in boiling salted water for approx a minute. Drain, rinse with cold water and pat dry with kitchen towel
  3. Char the skins of red and yellow peppers using either gass ring, blowtorch or Aga plate and roast at top of oven for a further 10 minutes before sealing into a plastic bag to cool whilst steam releases skin.  After 5 mins skin should slip off easily. Tear into strips after reseeding
  4. Slice red onion into thick rings and sauté in olive oil until soft and slightly browned
  5. Arrange slices of aubergine and courgette on serving platter.  Add cherry tomatoes and olives as well as strips of roasted pepper.  Scatter over thyme leaves, garlic slivers, parmesan shavings and torn basil
  6. Whisk together ingredients for dressing, tasting to adjust seasoning and vinegar quantity
  7. Pour over arranged vegetables.
  8. Leave to marinate for at least 30 mins although 6 hours or overnight is optimal.
  9. Serve at room temperature with bread to mop up the juices

 

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Gorgonzola, Rosemary and Pinenut Foccacia

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