Dishes that el­e­vate the hum­ble salad to a show-stop­ping main course, by JEN­NIFER JOYCE

The Star Late Edition - - FRONT PAGE - These recipes were adapted from the Well-Dressed Salad – Fresh, De­li­cious and Sat­is­fy­ing Recipes

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.

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