Leaves, Cheese and Bread: A Winter Salad with Nigel Slater

Leaves, Cheese and Bread: A Winter Salad with Nigel Slater

Leaves, Cheese and Bread: A Winter Salad with Nigel Slater

Leaves, Cheese and Bread:

A Winter Salad with Nigel Slater

Leaves, Cheese and Bread: A Winter Salad with Nigel Slater

Leaves, Cheese and Bread: A Winter Salad with Nigel Slater

I am a perennial salad lover, a salad of some sorts is always on the table, whatever the weather or the time of the year, and even though there is still snow on the ground and it is bitterly cold, both of us crave for crisp green leaves at least three or four times a week. This winter salad makes good use of some of my home-made Boule, a few slices lingered in the pantry, remnants from a couple of days ago, the recipe is here – Snow, Bread and Boule! An Easy Artisan Weekly Make and Bake Rustic Bread RecipeAnd although we could have quite happily toasted the bread, I have a real love of chunky home-made croutons, all salty and crunchy with that soft olive oil centre, and when married with salty Italian cheese and some creamy egg enriched dressing,  a bowl of leaves becomes a meal in itself. My salad is a VERY loose adaptation of Nigel Slater’s recipe from “The Kitchen Diaries”, the first one. The recipe is from the January chapter in the book and, apart from the lack of fennel, it fitted the bill perfectly for a light lunch that was packed full of texture, freshness and robust flavours, plus, is made GREAT use of my rather stale leftover bread. (Can there be such a thing as leftover bread? Hmmm, I think not, but you know what I mean!)

 The Kitchen Diaries

The Kitchen Diaries

I DID wander slightly off track with this salad, as I said before, I had no fennel in the house; however, I was true to the concept of winter leaves, cheese and bread. I also made Nigel’s salad dressing, which is somewhat reminiscent of Caesar salad dressing, but makes use of Tarragon Vinegar which, I make every year and have a veritable hoard of the stuff. My winter leaves were made up of scarole, frisée, mâche, watercress and rocket – a peppery and bitter green bomb! The cheese was Grana Padano, which I prefer over Parmesan, and the dressing was made with my own home-grown free-range eggs. Nigel is without doubt my favourite cook; his unpretentious and generous style of cooking coupled with his richness of words woos me every time I pull out one of his books or watch him on television. He cooks and writes to the style that I aspire to and I also enjoy his short recipe ideas and photos on Twitter too, where we sometimes engage in twittering!

Leaves, Cheese and Bread: A Winter Salad with Nigel Slater

Leaves, Cheese and Bread: A Winter Salad with Nigel Slater

The recipe is not on-line, as far as I can see, but, it is featured on page eight and nine of The Kitchen Diaries, “A Salad of Fennel, Winter Leaves and Parmesan”; the shopping list comprises: winter salad leaves, tarragon vinegar, egg yolk, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, thick slices of white bread, fennel bulb and Dijon mustard. It’s a winter salad of many layers, and I confess I made a few extra croutons to adorn the glistening leaves. It’s robust and hearty in a fresh leafy kind of way, and made a substantial winter lunch, even with snow on the ground! I am now working my way through The Kitchen Diaries II, it makes comforting bedtime reading, as well as fireside afternoon reading, and I am revelling in this chronicle of Nigel’s notes, essays, jottings and recipes compiled over the last three or four years…….I was lucky enough to receive a copy for Christmas.

A Salad of Fennel, Winter Leaves and Parmesan

A Salad of Fennel, Winter Leaves and Parmesan

I am entering this salad into Janice and Sue’s Dish of the Month, where you have to make a Nigel Slater recipe. That will be no hardship for me over the year!

And, as the bread is classed as a leftover and the salad is vegetarian, I am also submitting this into No Croutons Required, hosted by Jac and Lisa, this month’s theme is “Leftovers”.

A Salad of Fennel, Winter Leaves and Parmesan

A Salad of Fennel, Winter Leaves and Parmesan

That’s all for today, I will be back tomorrow with a VERY special cake I made, using one of my George Wilkinson retro cake tins……

George Wilkonson Retro Cake Tin for Cardamom Rose Cake with Orange Drizzle

George Wilkonson Retro Cake Tin for Cardamom Rose Cake with Orange Drizzle

You can win a set of these here: Giveaway: Win a Set of Limited Edition George Wilkinson British Bakeware worth over £50It’s my entry for Tea Time Treats and is a Cardamom Rose Cake with Orange Drizzle……here is a sneak preview:

Cardamom Rose Cake with Orange Drizzle

Cardamom Rose Cake with Orange Drizzle

See you all later, Karen 


  1. says

    lovely salad… perfect for my new diet too!.. love the crispy croutons… I received this book too so will be rifling through it for a recipe to join in!

  2. says

    I am rather partial to a bit of Nigel Slater too, for all the reasons you’ve mentioned. There is something so lovely about someone who can cook, teach (as in recipes that are actually doable) and write so evocatively – without all the shouty posturing of many chef personalities!

    Love the recipe too – I can’t work out which KDII recipe to do next – so many choices, too little time!

  3. says

    That looks nice and fresh Karen. I like gran padano too and bread in a salad is one of my favourite things, especially when it soaks up the dressing. Thank you for joining in Dish of the Month with me and Sue :-)

  4. says

    This looks great Karen. Totally agree with you re the merits of Nigel Slater recipes. He has great ideas for the sort of unfussy, robust food that I love – his books seem to be about cooking simply with great ingredients and being relaxed/creative with what’s to hand. Exactly as you have with this lovely salad. And bizarrely given the freezing temperatures, I’m craving salads too at the moment.

  5. Susan says

    You are THE only person I know who can tempt me with a salad Karen yours are always so appealing. Glad you are enjoying the book as much as I have and thanks for taking part. xxx

  6. says

    Gorgeous! I too love salad at any time of year and even posted Coleslaw yesterday much to my husbands disdain! Lets hope Nigel is enjoying all the adoration he is receiving via this challenge because it couldn’t happen to a nicer chap!

  7. Nicola Biven says

    I love salads so a winter one is right up my street, I think I would try parmesan but only because I love it with any salad and the croutons look delish !! Thanks for sharing !

    • Lisa Williams says

      I love these Nigel recipes I have been looking at a few of the others on here and really wanted to say thank you for posting them :)

  8. Lynn Savage says

    Nigel slater is one of my favourite cooks. This slad looks great, i’m a big fan of crisp green leaves and salad in general and will definately try this combination with the parmesan.

  9. says

    I’m not a huge fan of salad’s in the winter, but would happily consume a bowl full of watercress at any time and your salad looks so good, I’d be happy to consume that at any time too Karen.

  10. Judith Allen says

    Just the thing after too much stodge. As much as I like stodge, there does come a point when something fresh and green is needed.

  11. Ali Thorpe says

    I think adding a little cheese to a salad always makes it feel more of a treat and less … rabbit foody! This looks like a delicious way to enjoy some guilt-free noshing,

  12. Fiona Matters says

    Mmmm, love the look of that salad. Strangely I’m not a dressing fan – much prefer a “virgin” salad. But hey – saves on the old calories. The croutons and cheese look so yummy too. Must have salad more often. I tend to only have it in the summer.

  13. Lisa Williams says

    As you said that the bread counts as a leftover dose that mean that stale bread would work better or should you use fresh ??

  14. Kevin Dooley says

    I’m always open to ideas to make salads more substantial for the colder months of the year, the bread pieces are interesting. I tend to add all sorts such as cheese, peppers and roast beef, there really is no limit to a salad!


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