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Summer salads

Sun, 23 July, 2023

I know what you are going to say: time for this post has been and gone! It was back in June when we should have been barbecuing like mad, eating cold salads every day and churn ice cream. Instead you told us to cook rice and pasta back then. And now, while the continent fries, we’re shivering and longing for soup. You’ve missed the salad boat, girl!

Okay, okay. It might not be the hottest July on record but it’s still summer. With school holidays starting, we want food to be quick, tasty and stress free so my salad offering is not completely misplaced. And anyway, a salad is quite a vast notion. You’d be surprised what can qualify as salad.

Salads in the contemporary sense are much more than just a medley of greens and dressings. They can be a symphony of flavours, textures and colours that elevate your dining experience.

Salad wasn’t born yesterday: the concept of combining raw ingredients in a refreshing dish can be traced to ancient civilizations such as the Babylonians, Egyptians and Romans. These early salads were often simple combinations of herbs, vegetables and vinegar-based dressings. The term "salad" itself comes from the Latin word "sal" meaning salt, highlighting the early practice of salting leafy greens. Thus, it clearly transpires that the only unorthodox salad is a fruit salad served for dessert!

And so we have evolved to these basic types of salads:

Green salads, which form the foundation of the salad world, with fresh, leafy greens as the star ingredients. From delicate mesclun mixes to robust kale salads, the possibilities are endless, like lettuce, bacon and blue cheese salad or spring aka hispi cabbage salad.

Vegetable salads feature an assortment of raw or cooked vegetables, often incorporating unique textures and flavours. Think of a colourful tomato and fig salad with juicy tomatoes and fragrant figs or a refreshing cucumber and feta salad. And yes, actually both those key ingredients are technically fruit but relating to their use in the culinary world, they are considered vegetables. Check out also grilled radicchio and marinated fennel (pure form vegetables).

Grain salads, with emphasis on heartiness and nutrition, combine cooked grains like bulgur, couscous or farro with vegetables, herbs and dressings. A Mediterranean-inspired couscous with asparagus or a spelt salad with courgettes are prime examples.

Protein salads offer a substantial meal on their own, featuring ingredients such as grilled chicken, prawns, tofu or legumes. Warm potato and smoked mackerel salad or sweetcorn and nduja salad exemplify the diverse possibilities.

And we can go round the world of salads, through zesty Thai beef salad, vibrant Thai Som Tam with green papaya, classic American Caesar salad and Middle Eastern cucumbers with tahini. Happy salad days!

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About me

Hello! I'm Anna Gaze, the Cuisine Fiend. Welcome to my recipe collection.

I have lots of recipes for you to choose from: healthy or indulgent, easy or more challenging, quick or involved - but always tasty.


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