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 Recipe. And 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!)
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!
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.
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……
You can win a set of these here: Giveaway: Win a Set of Limited Edition George Wilkinson British Bakeware worth over £50. It’s my entry for Tea Time Treats and is a Cardamom Rose Cake with Orange Drizzle……here is a sneak preview:
See you all later, Karen