Damascus garden salad

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The gardener grew salad leaves and a few vegetables near his mud house at the end of the garden and my stepfather asked him to pick the leaves when they were still almost seedlings. Every salad included mint, which is very refreshing during hot weather. In addition, we used to pick a few scented pink rose petals to throw into the salad, as my mother said they looked so pretty amongst the green.

Ingredients

  • 2 Little Gem lettuces
  • 2 handfuls of lamb’s lettuce
  • 4 spring onions
  • bunch of radishes handful of mint leaves
  • handful of flat-leafed parsley
  • few scented rose petals (optional)
  • 30 g pine kernels
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • juice of 1 small lemon
  • 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt, black pepper

Method

Pull the Little Gem lettuces apart, discarding any marked outer leaves, and put the leaves into a salad bowl. Throw in the lamb’s lettuce.

Top and tail the spring onions and radishes and slice both very thinly. Chop the mint leaves and parsley finely. Add the spring onions, radishes and herbs to the lettuce, together with the rose petals if using, and toss to mix.

Put a dry frying pan over a fairly high heat, add the pine kernels and toss around just until browned; transfer to a cold plate and put to one side.

Peel and slice the garlic. Using a pestle and mortar, pound the garlic with 2 level teaspoons sea salt to a smooth purée. Stir in the lemon juice and olive oil and then season with black pepper.

Just before serving, throw the toasted pine kernels into the salad and toss with the olive oil and lemon dressing.

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