Fresh and bright in­salate show off spring veg­eta­bles in style.

Gourmet Traveller (Australia) - - OCT -

Fresh and bright in­salate show off spring pro­duce.

When it comes to Ital­ian food, we’re more likely to think of pizza and pasta than salad. But in­salate are an es­sen­tial part of Ital­ian cui­sine, be it pan­zanella, Cap­rese or the clas­sic rocket and parme­san combo.

Spring veg­eta­bles are ideal raw – slice them thinly, toss them in a flavour­ful dress­ing and leave them for a few min­utes to soften a lit­tle. Add heft with legumes or sliv­ers of raw fish. Dan­de­lion leaves, an Ital­ian favourite for their pleas­antly bit­ter flavour, are in sea­son now, and can be bought at farm­ers’ mar­kets and spe­cial­ist gro­cers; wild rocket makes a good sub­sti­tute.

As for dress­ings, the sim­pler the bet­ter. Ex­tra-vir­gin olive oil (the best you can af­ford) is non-ne­go­tiable, while cit­rus juices add per­fect acid­ity. Salad days are here.

King­fish crudo with white beans, fen­nel and blood-or­ange dress­ing SERVES 4 AS A LIGHT MEAL // PREP TIME 15 MINS

Us­ing canned white beans makes this dish su­per-quick to whip up, but if you have the time to soak dried white beans a day ahead by all means do so. If the beet­root have any small, ten­der leaves, toss them in the salad, too, and give the fish a quick toss in the pan or sear it on the grill if you’d opre­fer to eat it cooked.

2 blood or­anges, peeled

800 gm canned white beans,

drained and rinsed

200 gm sashimi-grade king­fish,

thinly sliced

2 baby fen­nel bulbs, shaved on a man­dolin and crisped in iced wa­ter, fronds re­served

¼ Span­ish onion, thinly sliced Juice of ½ lemon, or to taste

1 gar­lic clove, finely grated 70 ml ex­tra-vir­gin olive oil 2 beet­root, trimmed, peeled and cut into juli­enne, small leaves re­served

1 Seg­ment the blood or­anges over a bowl to catch the juices. Re­move the seg­ments from the mem­brane and trans­fer them to a sep­a­rate bowl. Add beans, king­fish, drained fen­nel and onion, sea­son to taste, toss to com­bine and trans­fer to a serv­ing plat­ter.

2 Add lemon juice and gar­lic to the or­ange juice and stand to soften (4-5 min­utes), then whisk in the oil and sea­son to taste. Driz­zle dress­ing over salad, toss to com­bine and serve scat­tered with beet­root, beet­root leaves and fen­nel fronds.

In­salata pri­mav­era SERVES 4 // PREP TIME 15 MINS

Use any com­bi­na­tion of spring veg­eta­bles in this salad, but aim for a con­trast of flavours and tex­tures. New-sea­son broad beans are gen­er­ally small and ten­der, mean­ing they can be served raw. If yours are on the large side, blanch and re­fresh them be­fore peel­ing. 3 bunches as­para­gus, trimmed and thinly sliced length­ways on a man­do­line 3 zuc­chini, thinly sliced

length­ways on a man­do­line 300 gm small pod­ded broad beans (about 600gm un­pod­ded), shelled

2 spring onions, thinly sliced 1½ cups (loosely packed)

young dan­de­lion leaves ¾ cup mint


100 ml ex­tra-vir­gin olive oil ⅓ cup finely chopped mint Juice of 1 lemon, or to taste 1 tbsp ap­ple cider vine­gar 1 gar­lic clove, finely chopped

1 For mint dress­ing, mix in­gre­di­ents in a bowl and sea­son to taste.

2 Com­bine as­para­gus, zuc­chini, broad beans and spring onion in a large bowl, driz­zle with mint dress­ing to taste and toss lightly to com­bine. Scat­ter with dan­de­lion and mint, driz­zle with ex­tra dress­ing and serve.

No broad beans? Peas at their peak are even bet­ter. King­fish crudo & in­salata pri­mav­era White plate (crudo) and shal­low bowl (in­salata pri­mav­era) both from Città. All other props stylist’s own. Stockists p175.

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