MAKE SALADS MORE STYLISH AND HEALTHY
Dishes that elevate the humble salad to a show-stopping main course, by JENNIFER JOYCE
Delicate Parmesan tuiles make any bowl of lettuce instantly glamorous. They sound complicated but they are simply grated Parmesan baked into a lacy wafer. The dressing is also key; the mixture of balsamic and raspberry vinegars and nut oil makes a top-shelf vinaigrette. Serves 4 50g Parmesan cheese, finely grated 50g walnut halves 2tbs clear honey ½tsp salt, plus extra for seasoning 1tbs castor sugar 2tsp vegetable oil 1tsp extra-virgin olive oil 2 boneless chicken breasts with skin on 4tbs raspberry vinegar 2tbs balsamic vinegar 4tbs extra virgin olive oil 3tbs walnut or hazelnut oil 1tsp dijon mustard freshly ground black pepper 4 large handfuls of mesclun (mixed young
lettuce leaves), about 100g total weight 200g raspberries 4 spring onions, white part only, thinly sliced Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Line a baking sheet with non-stick baking paper. It’s important that the paper is silicone treated or non-stick as the Parmesan tuiles can be difficult to remove from ordinary parchment baking paper.
To make the parmesan tuiles, sprinkle the cheese into 8x8cm rounds. Keep them flat and not too thick in the middle. Bake for 6–7 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly. Leave to cool on the sheet.
Meanwhile, make the caramelised walnuts. Toss the walnuts with the honey, salt, castor sugar and vegetable oil on a separate baking sheet and bake for 6 minutes. Transfer to non-stick baking paper and leave to crisp.
Heat the oil in a small ovenproof frying pan.
Place the chicken skin-side down and sear until golden, about 5 minutes. Turn over and sear on the other side.
Place the chicken in the preheated oven to finish off cooking for another 5 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove and leave to rest for 5 minutes, then slice into thick pieces.
While the chicken is cooking, make the raspberry and walnut oil vinaigrette.
Put the vinegars, oils and mustard in a screw-top jar, season with salt and pepper and shake well, then set aside.
Place the lettuce leaves on individual plates or a large platter and arrange the raspberries, spring onions, chicken and caramelised walnuts on top.
Pour the dressing over and top each plate with two Parmesan tuiles.
The dressing can be prepared the day before and refrigerated. The nuts and Parmesan tuiles can also be made a day before and stored in airtight containers. Sicilians are geniuses with brinjals, using them in practically everything. Caponata is like ratatouille, but a lush Italian version. Serve it warm or at room temperature with ricotta toasts.
Serves 4 3 brinjals, cut into 3cm pieces 5tbs extra virgin olive oil Salt and freshly ground black
pepper 3tbs olive oil 1 anchovy, rinsed 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped 500ml passata 1 large onion, cut into 1cm pieces 2 red peppers, de-seeded and cut
into 1cm pieces 6 celery sticks, cut into 1cm pieces 3tbs white wine vinegar 1tbs tomato purée 2tbs capers, rinsed 15 green olives, pitted 2tbs castor sugar 100g fresh ricotta cheese, drained 8 slices of bread, such as focaccia,
toasted Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Place the brinjals on a large baking sheet, drizzle 4 tablespoons of the olive oil over them, sprinkle with a liberal amount of salt and pepper, and mix well.
Roast for 20 minutes, or until golden brown, shaking the baking sheet occasionally to prevent sticking. Set aside.
Meanwhile make the tomato sauce. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan, add the anchovy and garlic, and sauté until the garlic is golden.
Add the passata, salt and pepper and stir well.
Cook over a medium-high heat for 15 minutes until thickened and reduced, then set aside.
Heat the remaining olive oil in a large sauté pan. Add the onion, red peppers and celery and season with salt and pepper, then sauté for 5 minutes until slightly soft, but still firm.
Add the vinegar, tomato purée, capers, olives, castor sugar and tomato sauce and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
Add the roasted brinjals and gently mix.
Spread the ricotta over the toasts and serve with the caponata, either warm or at room temperature.
The salad can be made up to four days in advance – the flavour improves with time.
by Jennifer Joyce available for R192 on Scan the QR code on your smartphone to purchase the book. – Independent
Serves 4 4 spring onions, cut into thin julienne 2 thumb-sized red chillies, de-seeded
and cut into thin julienne 5tbs sweet soy sauce 2 thumb-sized red chillies, de-seeded
and chopped 1 garlic clove, finely chopped 1tbs finely chopped fresh root ginger juice of 2 limes 1tbs castor sugar 3 small to medium brinjals, cut into
2.5cm-thick slices 3-4tbs peanut or vegetable oil salt and freshly ground black pepper 1 small handful of coriander leaves Place the spring onions and chillies in wet paper towels and chill in the refrigerator until required. This makes them crisp and sweeter.
To make the soy and lime There are a lot of ingredients in this classic Tuscan salad but it’s worth every second of chopping. I love the different textures of crunchy croutons with soft tomatoes, and crisp cucumber and peppers. The capers and olives add a salty pop to every bite.
Serves 4 1 ciabatta or sour-dough loaf, cut
into 1cm cubes 2 red peppers, de-seeded and
quartered 250g cherry tomatoes, halved 1 celery heart, (the inner part of the
celery head), sliced 10 Italian black olives, pitted and
halved 2tbs small capers, rinsed 1 small red onion, finely diced 2-3 mini cucumbers, peeled and sliced, or 1 medium cucumber, peeled, de-seeded and sliced 20 basil leaves, shredded 1 anchovy, rinsed and chopped 1 garlic clove, finely chopped 4tbs extra virgin olive oil 4tbs good-quality red wine vinegar,
preferably cabernet sauvignon dressing, put the soy, chopped chillies, garlic, ginger, lime juice and castor sugar in a small bowl and mix well or pulse them in a food processor. Set aside.
Brush both sides of the brinjal slices liberally with the oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Heat a grill pan and grill the brinjals in batches for about 1-2 minutes on each side or until griddle marks appear.
Remove to a platter and continue to grill the remaining brinjals.
Pour the dressing over the salad, sprinkle with the spring onions, chillies and coriander, and serve immediately.
The dressing can be made the day before, but the salad should be served within two hours of preparation. salt and freshly ground black pepper Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Spread out the bread cubes on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 5 minutes or until crisp. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. Preheat the grill to high. Place the peppers, skin-side up, on a large baking sheet and grill until blackened.
Place the peppers in a plastic bag, seal and set aside for 5minutes.
When the peppers are cool enough to handle, remove the skins but do not rinse.
Thinly slice the flesh and place in a large bowl.
Add the tomatoes, celery, olives, capers, onion, cucumbers, basil, anchovy, garlic and croutons to the bowl.
Just before serving, drizzle the oil and vinegar over the salad, season with plenty of salt and pepper and toss until combined and serve.