We love warm salad here. This recipe can be adjusted to each season. Spring means asparagus, summer means peas and broad beans and gooseberry mint dressing. Autumn means roast butternut squash and cavalo nero. Winter can be roast orange parsnips, hazelnuts and orange thyme.
For the plum dressing
- 8 dark plums
- 1/3 coffee cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon star anise
- 2 cm fresh ginger (fine chopped)
- 100 ml water
- For the salad
- 450 gm/ 1 lb summer salad potatoes
- 300 gm pak choi
- 200 gm organic carrots, peeled and chopped to 3mm
- 200 gm mange tout topped tailed and washed
- 200 gm asparagus, trimmed ready to blanch
- 100 gm cashew nuts
- 100 gm interesting salad leaves (rocket, mizzuma, sorrel, mustard green etc)
- 250 gm halloumi cheese – cut into 8 slices
- A little olive oil
- A handful of fresh mint leaves
To make the plum dressing,
Heat oven to 160 C, roast the plums and balsamic vinegar for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the plums are falling and soft.
Leave to cool for 10 minutes, and then remove the stones,
Transfer to small pan along with the reduced balsamic vinegar and all the other dressing ingredients.
Simmer for 5 minutes, and then blend until a smooth purée. Cool and reserve for use.
For the salad,
First boil the salad potatoes until just cooked and leave to cool.
Blanch the asparagus for 4 minutes and refresh in cold water.
The salad ingredients are next stir fried in a wok. Firstly crisp the potatoes in little olive oil, season and add the pak choi, carrots and asparagus. Stir fry on a medium heat for 4 minutes and season.
Meanwhile toast the halloumi until golden
To present the salad, plate the crispy potatoes, then layer the stir fried vegetables, top with the salad leaves, mint, cashews and toasted halloumi, finally drizzle on half of the plum dressing. Yum!