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CROSS-SEA­SONAL SAL­ADS BRING TEN­DER SPRING VEGES TO­GETHER WITH RO­BUST SMOKY FLAVOURS,

Cuisine - - CONTENTS - SAYS WILL BOW­MAN.

Will Bow­man’s spring sal­ads mix ro­bust flavours with ten­der spring veges

AS SOON AS I started to think about spring sal­ads the ideas were flow­ing, mostly fed by my at­trac­tion to var­ied tex­tures and strong flavours. I was pretty pleased with my ideas, then a cou­ple of days later I re­vis­ited them and thought, “Ac­tu­ally, are these tech­ni­cally ‘sal­ads’?”

This is what Google had to say, “A dish of var­i­ous mix­tures of raw or cooked veg­eta­bles, usu­ally sea­soned with oil, vine­gar, or other dress­ing and some­times ac­com­pa­nied by meat, fish, or other in­gre­di­ents.” Def­i­nitely sal­ads, then!

Here are four sal­ads star­ring new and ten­der veg­eta­bles and leaves with sub­tle flavours and del­i­cate tex­tures, which I truly love. But even as the weather warms, I find my­self re­luc­tant to give up the bold and hearty flavours of win­ter. So the fol­low­ing recipes marry the two sea­sons with clas­sic spring pro­duce and a lit­tle win­ter-like warmth added from smoke and fire.

I’d love you to get out­side, light a fire, put some veges on it (or an oc­to­pus and some mussels), get some loved ones over and en­joy the length­en­ing days, while treat­ing your taste buds to some spring sal­ads that just can’t let go of win­ter’s flavour­some gen­eros­ity.

CHARRED & PICK­LED RADISH, ANCHOVY BUT­TER, WATER­CRESS SERVES 2-3 / PREPA­RA­TION 20 MIN­UTES / COOK­ING 10 MIN­UTES

Love radishes, love pick­les, love but­ter, love an­chovies, love water­cress. Squeeze it all onto a piece of grilled bread – I’d make ex­tra but­ter to driz­zle all over it – and have a cool bev­er­age nearby to cleanse your salt- and umami-lined mouth.

½ cup sherry vine­gar

1 ta­ble­spoon sugar

1 ta­ble­spoon toasted fen­nel seeds 12 radishes

3 tinned anchovy fil­lets

½ cup but­ter cia­batta

1 le­mon water­cress

Mix the vine­gar, sugar and toasted fen­nel seeds. Finely slice 2-3 of the radishes and add to the vine­gar and sugar mix. It’s best to do this on the day of mak­ing the salad, so the pick­led radishes re­tain their crunch.

Chop the anchovy fil­lets and com­bine with the but­ter in a small pot, slowly heat­ing while stir­ring.

Slice the re­main­ing radishes in half and place over burn­ing coals, un­til coloured and soft­ened slightly. Do the same with the cia­batta and halved le­mon.

Bring the charred and pick­led radishes and water­cress to­gether and dress with the warm anchovy but­ter. Serve with charred cia­batta and a squeeze of the black­ened le­mon.

BRAISED, CHARRED LEEKS, DILL LAB­NEH, POTATO CRISPS & PICK­LED CUR­RANTS SERVES 4 / PREPA­RA­TION 40 MIN­UTES PLUS 1 HOUR DRAIN­ING TIME / COOK­ING 40 MIN­UTES

The thought be­hind this was a sour-cream-and-chives-type vibe. I hope that is what you get – smoky, suc­cu­lent leeks, crispy lit­tle chip­pies and wee pops of sweet and sour with the cur­rants.

500g plain yoghurt

1 cup dill, chopped

½ cup cur­rants

½ cup rice wine or cider vine­gar 1 potato

1 litre sun­flower oil 1 ta­ble­spoon salt

2 leeks

Put the yoghurt in a tea-towel or muslin and hang over a bowl to al­low the whey to drip out. You can do this overnight or for as lit­tle as an hour, de­pend­ing on how thick you want your lab­neh. Once the de­sired tex­ture is achieved, mix the dill through.

Cover the cur­rants with the vine­gar and leave to soak while pre­par­ing the other com­po­nents.

Slice the potato into 2mm thick rounds – a man­dolin is the best tool for this – putting the slices straight into cold wa­ter. Re­place the wa­ter once they’re all sliced, add salt and soak for about 30 min­utes. Drain and place on a tea-towel to re­move ex­cess wa­ter. Heat the oil to 180⁰C in a pot, then fry the slices in batches, re­mov­ing as soon as they be­gin to brown. Put into a bowl and sea­son with salt. The chips will keep in an air­tight con­tainer for a few days.

Pre­heat the oven to 180⁰C. Trim the tops off the leeks and put them in a bak­ing dish with about two cups of wa­ter (or I used the whey from the yoghurt as the brais­ing liq­uid). Cover the dish and bake for 20 min­utes. The pur­pose is to just soften the leeks through, not to cook them so they’re fall­ing apart.

Once the leeks are cooked and cooled (this can be done days in ad­vance as they’ll keep in the fridge) fin­ish them by char­ring over coals or on the bar­be­cue. You can go fur­ther than you think with the char­ring as the sweet­ness of the leeks re­ally stands up to the bit­ter­ness of the charred outer layer.

Spread the lab­neh on a dish, top with the leeks and scat­ter over the cur­rants.

CHARRED SPRING ONIONS & MUSSELS WITH A CIT­RUS, GAR­LIC, CHILLI & PARS­LEY DRESS­ING recipe page 78

Recipes, food styling & pho­tog­ra­phy Will Bow­man

OC­TO­PUS, POTATO & GAR­LIC WITH NETTLE & CHILLI MAYO recipe page 78

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