Ginny Grant shares gutsy salad and pasta dishes
BIG, GUTSY SALAD AND PASTA DISHES are what I like to eat most, and they’re perfect for this time of year as the weather (hopefully) begins to get a little milder. All the following recipes work as complete meals, so don’t relegate them to side-dish status. While you may find some early asparagus, it can be a little trickier to find fresh baby peas and broad beans at this time of year. Just as well, then, that both are freezer staples. Because I love a leftover salad the next day, these recipes are on the larger side. That said, you can easily scale them back if you so desire.
WHITE BEANS, BROAD BEANS & SALMON
SERVES 4-6 / PREPARATION 20 MINUTES / COOKING 1 HOUR (INCLUDING BEANS)
⅓ cup dried white beans (I used green kidney beans from Sabato), soaked overnight in water, or 400g can cannellini beans
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 bunch asparagus, sliced on the diagonal
2 cups broad beans (I used frozen)
1 tablespoon tahini
¼ cup thick Greek-style yoghurt
½ teaspoon sumac, plus extra to serve
400g salmon fillets
½ cup mint leaves, shredded
2 cups rocket leaves
If using dried beans, bring a saucepan of water to the boil and simmer the beans for 50 minutes or until tender. Drain and set aside.
Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat, add the red onion and cook for 5 minutes until soft. Add the garlic and cumin seeds and cook until fragrant. Add the white beans and heat through until warm. Add the vinegar, season with salt then remove from the heat and set aside while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
Blanch the asparagus in boiling, salted water for 2 minutes, drain and rinse under cold water to cool. Set aside. Pour boiling water over the broad beans then drain and remove the outer pods. Set aside. Mix the tahini, yoghurt and sumac and loosen with 1-2 tablespoons of water. Set aside. Season the salmon with salt and panfry for 2-3 minutes on each side, depending on thickness, or until cooked to your liking.
Mix together the white beans, asparagus and broad beans and dress with the tahini-yoghurt dressing. Add the mint and rocket. Break up the salmon into chunks and scatter over the salad. Sprinkle with extra sumac to serve.
WINE A dry riesling - try the Villa Maria Cellar Selection Dry Riesling 2014.
CANDY BEETROOT & PANCETTA TAGLIATELLE
SERVES 4 / PREPARATION 20 MINUTES / COOKING 15 MINUTES
If you live in the South Island, you may have seen Oakley’s Candy Beetroot. It’s a particularly sweet variety of chioggia beetroot, delicious raw, and it looks beautiful with its concentric rings of pink and white. (Next year, hopefully it will be available nationwide.) Chioggia beets can also be found at specialty food stores and farmers’ markets, plus you can grow them from seed. Of course you can use ordinary beetroot here too, but it will bleed more into the pasta.
1 tablespoon olive oil
75g pancetta, cut into 5mm cubes
3 candy or chioggia beetroot (about 600g), peeled
3 cloves garlic, sliced
2 tablespoons marjoram leaves extra virgin olive oil to drizzle grated zest of
1 lemon and a little of the juice
400g dried tagliatelle
4 tablespoons mascarpone
2 teaspoons poppy seeds grated parmesan to serve
Heat the olive oil in a wide saucepan over medium heat and add the pancetta. Cook until golden. Dice two of the beetroot into 5mm cubes. Add to the pan and cook for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and marjoram and cook for a few more minutes, then add ½ cup of water and cook gently until it has mostly evaporated and the beetroot is just tender.
Very thinly slice the remaining beetroot on a mandoline and sprinkle lightly with sea salt. Set aside for a few minutes, then dress with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a little lemon juice.
Cook the pasta according to packet directions, drain and reserve ½ cup of cooking water. Add the cooking water to the pancetta mix along with the lemon zest and mascarpone and stir to combine. Add the pasta and poppy seeds and stir to combine. Put into warmed bowls, grate some parmesan over and top with the sliced beetroot.
WINE A lean style of chardonnay - try the Spy Valley Chardonnay 2014.