Gaia, Demeter, Ceres (whatever your pet name for Mother Earth) is really quite a clever divine entity. She sends fruit to cool the febrile in summer and veg to soothe the flu-ridden in winter. And even when the fields are apparently barren and there is frost on the ground, she sends us stuff to use for salads. It may not be the pert lettuces and juicy tomatoes of summer, but it is still saladable.
If you have a herb patch, frankly there is no excuse for it to lie fallow at any time. Coriander, parsley, mint, salad burnet, fennel, chervil, sorrel and dill enjoy the cooler months, and then there are winter varieties of purslane and savory. Kale too is happiest sprouting in the colder months. Check out Dan Pearson’s guide for a few handy hints.
If you don’t grow your own (and I have to admit that, while I sing her praises, it is likely that Mother Earth shudders at my cack-handed attempts at horticulture), then these leafy goodies are available to buy at good greengrocers and farmers’ markets. Better still, chat up your mate with the allotment...
Chop the kale into 2.5cm/1in wide strips and place it in a bowl. Cut the carrot into matchsticks and add it to the kale. Mix the pure olive oil with a sprinkling of salt and pepper together with the caraway and fennel seeds, and pour the mixture over the kale/carrot combo, rubbing it in with your hands to ensure that the strips are all coated. Then spread the veg out on a baking tray and
Turn the oven down to 150°C/300°F/Gas mark 2, pop the pumpkin seeds into an oven dish and
Next, cut the apple into matchsticks and mix together in a bowl along with the cheese and chopped herbs. Add the warm vegetables and pumpkin seeds, then whisk the dressing ingredients together and pour them over the salad.
Serve as a cracking ‘vegetable’ dish with your roast: it works well with pork or lamb.
© 2014 All rights reserved. Published by Pavilion.