3 showstopper summer salads

These delicious recipes firmly reinvent salad as the star of the dinner show

Peach and buffalo mozzarella salad with pistachio pesto
Serves 4

4 ripe peaches, washed and dried
1 Lebanese cucumber or regular cucumber
6 heirloom tomatoes, preferably mixed colours
A good handful of wild rocket
2 x 125g balls buffalo mozzarella
A handful of purple basil
3 tbsp aged balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper

For the pistachio pesto:
50g shelled unsalted pistachios, lightly toasted
1 garlic clove, peeled
30g flat-leaf parsley
A dash of lemon juice
100ml extra virgin or pistachio oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 First make the pesto. Tip the pistachios into the bowl of a mini processor and whizz until finely chopped. Add the garlic and parsley and whizz again to combine. Then add the lemon juice and half of the oil, season well with salt and black pepper and blend until almost smooth. Add the remaining oil and whizz once more. Set aside for 30 mins for the flavours to mingle, then taste the pesto and add more salt and pepper as needed.

2 Cut the peaches in half, remove the stones and cut the fruit into wedges. Cut the cucumber into bite-sized pieces and slice the tomatoes. Arrange the rocket on each plate and top with peaches, cucumber and tomatoes.

3 Tear the mozzarella into pieces and divide between the plates. Spoon the pesto over each salad and scatter with the basil. Finish with a drizzle of the balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil and a good grinding of black pepper.

Romanesco, apple and freekeh salad
Serves 4

100g freekeh
1 romanesco cauliflower, approx 500g
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Pink Lady apple
Squeeze of lemon juice
25g dill, to garnish

For the dressing:
100g cauliflower stalk (see step 2)
2 tbsp yoghurt
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
5g dill
3 tsp grated horseradish (fresh or from a jar)
Juice of lemon

Preheat oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas mark 6. Cover the freekeh with water, bring to the boil and simmer for about 20-25 mins until tender. Drain, rinse under cold water and set aside.

Slice the cauliflower in half, remove and reserve the inner stalk. Break up the halves into little florets and place on a baking tray, drizzle with the olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 10-15 mins, checking a couple of times to ensure they do not burn.

3 To make the dressing, place a griddle pan over a high heat and grill the cauliflower stalk until blackened all over. Don’t worry if it looks burned – this is part of what gives the dressing its flavour.

4 Transfer to a blender with all the other dressing ingredients and 2 tbsp of water and blitz until completely smooth. You want the consistency of pouring cream so add a little more water if it is too thick. Season.

5 Cut the apple into quarters and remove the core then finely slice and dress with a squeeze of lemon juice. When the cauliflower is roasted, allow it to cool a little (or totally if you prefer it cold). Place in a bowl with the apple and freekeh and toss with the dressing. Serve garnished with dill.

Bulgur wheat salad with cherries and feta
Serves 4-6

250g bulgur wheat
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
50g flat-leaf parsley
30g each fresh mint and coriander
50g rocket
1 head of fennel
5 spring onions
A handful of radishes
1 cucumber
Juice of 1 lemon, or to taste
4-5 tbsp fruity olive oil, or to taste
250g cherries, washed and dried
150g feta, crumbled
50g whole almonds
A pinch of ground sumac (optional)

1 Wash the bulgur wheat in a sieve under cold running water. Put in a pan, cover with 1 litre of cold water; add a pinch of salt. Bring to boil, half cover and simmer for 15 mins till tender. Drain; rinse with cold water. Leave to drain in the sieve.

2 Roughly chop herbs and rocket and tip into a large bowl. Trim fennel, cut into quarters, cut out the core from each wedge; finely slice. Add to herbs. Trim and finely chop spring onions. Wash and trim radishes and finely slice. Wash cucumber, trim the ends and cut into small dice. Add all to the bowl.

Squeeze remaining water from bulgur wheat and tip into the bowl. Add lemon juice and olive oil, season well and mix.

For the cherries, taking one at a time, remove the stalk and, holding it over the salad bowl, Squeeze to pop out the stone – this way, the cherry juice drips into the salad and isn’t wasted. Break the flesh into rough pieces; add to the bowl. Add feta, add almonds; mix gently to combine.

5 This tastes best an hour or so after making, once the flavours have mingled. After this time, taste it and add more oil, lemon juice, salt or pepper if needed. Sprinkle with the sumac, if using; serve.

Source: www.healthy-magazine.co.uk

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