Thursday, July 1, 2010

two colourful summer salads

Potato salad with fresh herbs
serves 4, as a side:
500g baby new potatoes, I used Charlotte
1 small bunch spring onions, roots cut off, finely chopped
1 small bunch flat leaved parsley, finely chopped (stalks discarded)
1 small bunch fresh mint, finely chopped (stalks discarded)
chives, dill or any green herb you like could be added

I make a straight forward vinaigrette to add to this:
150ml extra virgin olive oil
1 large garlic clove
2 tblsps of lemon juice
1 tsp Dijon mustard
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

First get the potatoes on.  Place them, skin on, in a pan of cold water and bring to the boil.  Boil for about 10-15 minutes (depending on size) until they are tender to the tip of a knife.
At the same time, hard boil two eggs - I usually just put them in the boiling water with the potatoes to cut down on some washing up.  Remove form the water with a slotted spoon after 8-10 minutes and set aside.

Next make the herb vinaigrette.
Crush the garlic clove with a little sea salt in a pestle and mortar until it forms a paste.  Add the mustard and lemon juice and mix thoroughly.  Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, whisking as you do so, until it is all combined.
Next add the chopped herbs and spring onions to the vinaigrette, mix well and set aside. 

When the potatoes have cooked and cooled slightly, take the skins off.  I do this now out of habit, but you can leave them on if you like.  They should just push off using your thumbs.  Place them in a serving bowl and pour vinaigrette over the potatoes while they are still warm and mix well with a spoon.
Peel the boiled egg and break over the potatoes and mix through also.

Serve as a side dish.  We ate these with weiss wurst which is a type of German white sausage which is added to just-boiling water and heated through,  The skin is then removed.  Traditionally these are eaten before 11am with a sweet mustard and a beer.  I do not heed such traditions, for me they taste great at any time of the day, especially with my potato salad.  

Red fruit salad for breakfast or dessert

It was an absolute necessity to do something with this delicious ripe fruit which I bought from our local market on Wednesday.  They were practically giving the fruit away, I asked for 1 melon and got 2 for the same price.

Anyway with a small punnet of ripe strawberries, some delicious black cherries and a few nectarines, I made a wonderfully colourful fruit salad which would take pride of place as a dessert plate or for a summer morning breakfast.

Half and de-hull (ie. remove the small heart-shaped inner core of the strawberry with a paring knife) a small mound of strawberries.
Half and de-stone a small mound of black cherries, I used the black tartarian variety, the dark ones from skin to stone, and some of the bright red, more tart montmorceny variety.  Use what you like as long as they are ripe.  To de-stone easily, take a sharp paring knife and run it around the circumference cutting through to the stone.  Then prise away one half from the stone and then poke out the stone with the knife.  The riper they are, the easier this will be.
Slice up a some nectarine flesh, skin on, into bite size pieces. 
You could add pomegranate, water melon, gala melon, peach. 
I like anything in this except banana, apple and kiwi - the three fruits which ruin almost any fruit salad for me, not necessarily due to the taste but to the texture, banana being the worst offender.  But hey, if you are going to eat it, add what you like.

Next add the juice of a small orange and a slight sprinkling of caster sugar and toss gently using two spoons, taking care not to bruise the fruit.  The sugar and orange will melt into the juices of the fruits and make a delicious syrup.

Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream for a dessert or, as a breakfast, with a sprinkling of crunchy granola and some vanilla yoghurt, or in the mid-afternoon on its own, and eaten alone in the stolen peace and quiet of the day.

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