“Is it warm spring, now, Mammy?” asked Little Missy this morning as she gazed out the window at sunshine while I scrabbled in last year’s boxes to find her a summer dress. As far as she’s concerned, it’s been cold spring for so long, she’s nearly given up on the idea of any kind of warmth arriving.
I haven’t had the heart to tell her that we’ve been stuck into (cold) summer for almost a month now.
But today the sun is out and it’s time for salad.
Broccoli, Tomato and Avocado Salad
I’ve had a long love affair with Avoca’s broccoli and feta salad – this is my latest variation on the theme. I demonstrated this recipe in Bulgaden recently, where I served it with Spiced Citrus Chicken and Lemon Herb Couscous, finishing off with Knockmealdown Porter Brownies). The favourite dish of the night? This won, hands down. Never underestimate the power of a simple assemble job!
250g cherry tomatoes, halved
100g feta cheese, cut into chunks
½ avocado, sliced
50g baby spinach leaves
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar – I love to use the raw cider vinegar I get from Ballyhoura Apple Farm
½ teaspoon honey
½ teaspoon dijon mustard
6 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt, freshly ground black pepper
Roast the hazelnuts in a hot oven until brown and fragrant. Rub off the skins with a rough tea towel. Small hands are useful to pick the cooled nuts out from the discarded skins. Chop roughly.
Meanwhile, cut the broccoli into bite-sized florets. Put the vinegar into a jar, add a pinch of salt and pepper, the honey, mustard and olive oil and shake well.
Layer up the ingredients in a salad bowl – spinach, broccoli, hazelnuts, tomatoes, feta, avocado – and drizzle with dressing. Toss now, or at the table.
More salad days
2009: Old Millbank Smokehouse Smoked Trout and Lemon Pasta Salad
2008: Warm Potato and Chorizo Salad with Poached Eggs
2006: Ingredient experiments: Bulgur and Cauliflower Salad with Pomegranate Molasses Dressing