Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Tricolore Salad

There are many glorious salads that make summer eating so wonderful and the tricolore is an absolute classic. Named so after the triple colour or three coloured elements that make up both the Italian flag and of course the salad - it's simplicity doesn't take away from it's fresh, vibrant deliciousness. 

Again, this is hardly a recipe. merely a few ingredients thrown together to make up a big bowl of loveliness that can either make up a meal or act as a side with a versatile range of dishes. 

The one thing that I will advise on here is ensuring you buy the best possible quality ingredients to prepare this - with a dish so simple, there is nothing to hide behind so you don't want brown, bruised avocados or unripe tomatoes, everything needs to be just so. 

So to prepare a salad as a side for four, you need 3-4 decent sized and perfectly ripe tomatoes. Simply wash then slice and add to your salad bowl. Halve a large, ripe avocado and remove the stone, then using a teaspoon, scoop out curls of avocado flesh and add to the bowl. Pull or slice a ball of the best quality buffalo mozzarella and scatter around the salad. The final flourish is to add a generous handful of full basil leaves around the bowl and then to dress. 

Drizzle over some extra virgin olive oil, be generous as this really does aid the flavour with it's peppery tang. Finally, throw over some coarse sea salt a large pinch will do and some freshly ground black pepper and give a stir or a shake. 

Salmon in a Creamy Horseradish Crumb

This is such a simple yet delicious summer dish that can be prepared in less than five minutes and only takes 10-15 minutes to cook. It's hardly a recipe, just an idea for a quick, weekday winner. Can be served with new potatoes and vegetables - but I like it with a big green salad - and whatever is currently growing nicely in the garden (at the moment my gorgeous Santini tomatoes, radishes and spring onions.)

For two - simply take two salmon fillets, season all round with coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. If you prefer to cook in the oven switch on to 180 degrees. (Personally I like to crisp up the breadcrumbs quickly whilst keeping the salmon nice and moist and juicy so I place under a hot grill instead.)

Either use pre-prepared breadcrumbs - or quickly blitz enough to coat both fillets in a food processor - white or brown or a mixture is absolutely fine here. Give the breadcrumbs a good seasoning too and scatter onto a plate. You can of course add some fresh chopped herbs here too - dill, thyme and oregano all work - but sometimes speed is of the essence and it's fab with or without the herbs.

Next place the salmon fillets into an oven proof dish or a baking tray and spoon over about 1-1.5 tablespoons to each of creamy horseradish, then dip into the breadcrumbs and ensure both top and bottoms are covered. I like to leave the sides uncovered so you can see as the fish is cooking - nobody likes dried up, over-cooked salmon! 

Finally cook the salmon - either in the oven until the breadcrumbs have turned a golden brown - or, if you prefer, follow my lead and place under a very hot grill to toast the breadcrumbs and turn half way through to ensure a lovely golden crispy crumb on both sides. You can literally see the salmon cooking this way too, so can avoid overcooking. For a decent sized fillet - it only really takes 6-7 minutes cooking each side maximum.