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A SPRING SALAD

Serves 2

Bitter leaves have a place in many culinary traditions at the end of winter. In the West, they are often the first edible plants to emerge in spring, their leaves packed with many nourishing vitamins and minerals that we miss out on during the winter months. Their bitterness acts as a much needed tonic for our digestion and immune system. Remember to wash all the greenery to remove any soil or other residues, and spin or shake them dry.

Combining them with grapefruit works really well, and in this recipe the juice adds flavour and sweetness to the dressing. To add crunch and to make it into a complete meal, I have included toasted croutons and nuts, e.g. chopped or flaked almonds, pine nuts, chopped walnuts or hazelnuts. If you like you can also add some extra protein in the form of cheese, for example dry-fried cubes of halloumi, shavings of parmesan or crumbled feta.

Ingredients

Dressing

  • 1 grapefruit
  • 1 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Salad

  • 2-3 slices sourdough or wholegrain bread (stale is fine)
  • 1 clove garlic, halved
  • A handful of nuts of your choice, chopped
  • 2 spring onions
  • 1 chicory
  • A handful of radishes
  • A handful of parsley or coriander leaves, roughly chopped
  • 4 handfuls mixed peppery/bitter leaves, eg rocket, watercress, radicchio
  • Cheese of your choice – see above (optional)

Method

Peel the grapefruit with a sharp knife, trying to remove as much pith as possible. Holding the fruit over a small bowl to catch the juice, cut the segments away from their surrounding membranes and set them aside. Squeeze as much juice as you can from the remaining membranes into the bowl, and discard them.

Put 3 tablespoons of the reserved juice into a salad bowl, whisk in the mayonnaise and 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Cut the bread into rough cubes, about 1-2 cm in size, discarding any hard crusts.

In a heavy based frying pan heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and add the bread cubes. Fry for several minutes over a low heat, turning frequently. Then add the garlic and nuts and keep stirring, allowing everything to brown. Take care not to burn them. Remove the garlic and set the croutons aside. Use the same pan to dry fry your halloumi, if using.

Slice the chicory, spring onions and radishes into thin rings, and add to the dressing in the bowl. Stir in the chopped herbs.

Tear the leaves into bite-size pieces and toss with the other ingredients in the bowl. Now mix in the toasted bread and nuts, and top with cheese, if you are using it.

Serve immediately.

Posted in Erika’s Kitchen on Apr 01, 2024