Friday, November 23, 2012

Garden salad

Sometimes, you just feel like a nice fresh salad for dinner. A salmon salad (p179) with herb dressing (p184) perhaps?

The salad is composed of red lettuce, cucumber, avocado, smoked salmon and hard-boiled egg. So clearly, the first thing I had to do was boil some eggs and get them cooled. Naturally, I dropped one of the eggs as I lowered it into the pot, so it cracked, oozed, and cooked partly inside the shell, but mostly in a massive tumourish blob escaping from one end. Incidentally, The other egg came out perfect.

While my eggs were cooling, I mixed up the herb dressing. Now that I have a garden (and a few things actually planted in it - a fairly recent development) I have the ingredients for this sort of recipe conveniently at hand. I grabbed some parsley, chives and thyme, chopped that all up finely and put it in a screwtop jar.

 Also into the jar went some lemon zest and juice, olive oil, salt, pepper and sugar. A good shake, and the dressing was ready. Time to assemble the salad.

I wasn't sure if there's a specific variety meant by "red" lettuce, but I had some of that frilly reddish stuff in the garden, so I figured that'd do. I'd triple washed it and was fairly sure I got all the aphids off, but if not, never mind: it wouldn't kill me and anyway I'd never notice it under the dressing.

I laid the lettuce out over a plate (and some in a little container for my lunch the next day. I was making a half-recipe, but it was still too much for one meal) along with short strips of cucumber, sliced with a potato peeler. Next, I added chopped avocado and arranged the smoked salmon and boiled eggs on top. A liberal application of the herb dressing, and you're good to go.

Initially, I was a bit disappointed in the dressing. Olive oil seemed to be the dominant flavour, when I'd hoped the herby flavour would come through. Interestingly, the leftover dressing I had on my lunchtime salad the next day was much tastier. The flavours had developed overnight, and the herbs and lemon were far more noticeable.

The salad I loved. This is not a surprise, since I'm a big smoked salmon fan, and I always like salads that are substantial enough to have as a meal. Ok, so it probably wouldn't be for a bloke, but for me, a decent-sized plateful of salad greens with a reasonable helping of salmon and egg is plenty enough for a meal.

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