Monday, 13 July 2009

Broccoli, feta and carrot salad

This is my current favourite salad. I saw something similar in the window of Ottolenghi in Notting Hill that included broccoli, something orange, possibly butternut squash, feta and seeds of some sort. For me this salad is perfect summer food: refreshing, with a pleasing balance between sweet carrot, salty feta, vinegary dressing and crunchy seeds or nuts.

I tend to use recipes as loose guidelines at best, and with salads this applies even more so. Today I wanted something strong and spicy so added spring onion and red and green chillis. On other occasions I've added a teaspoon of pesto to the dressing or used cashew nuts instead of seeds.

For about three servings, although it depends whether you're eating this on its own (this would be delicious alongside grilled mackerel) I used a small head of broccoli, three carrots, half a packet of feta, two spring onions and two halves of chillies.

Cook the broccoli until it's tender. Meanwhile mix some dressing in a large bowl. I like dressing best made with red wine vinegar. Sometimes I think I'm the only person in the world who doesn't understand the fuss about balsamic. I think it's alright on its own but overpowers anything it's paired with.

So, red wine vinegar, a pinch of salt, a drop of mustard and olive oil, stirred together. Add the broccoli while it's hot so it soaks up the dressing. Leave to cool for a bit then throw in the feta, spring onion/chilli/other, some seeds or chopped nuts and some carrots roasted in a hot oven for about 20 minutes.

Best eaten straight out the bowl, in the garden on a hot day. It also makes a damn fine packed lunch.

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