The peas in my area bolted because of the lack of rain, so this year there were no delicious pea shoots to toss into my salad. All was not lost because it meant the pea crop itself was early.
Whatever time of year a salad can make a light and refreshing change to cooked vegetables. You can easily pair it with a lamb chop or a piece of fish.
A good salad should have contrasts of flavours and textures to make them interesting and more than just filler. That said most people tend to put too many ingredients into salads.
Ingredients (serves 4 as a starter)
125g (5oz) rocket leaves
100g (4oz) baby spinach
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
1 tsp chopped mint leaves
100g (4oz) Padano cheese
100g (4oz) local peas,
Peel of 1 lemon (no pith)
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 thick slices of wholegrain bread
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1. Trim the crusts from the bread and cut into chunky sized croutons.
2. Place the garlic into a mixing bowl and stir in 2 tbsp olive oil then toss
the croutons into the mix and season with salt and pepper.
3. Bake the croutons in the middle of the oven 190įC / gas mark 4 until golden brown.
4. Sprinkle a few grains of white sugar onto the lemon peel and cook in the microwave for
15 seconds then soak the peel in the remaining olive oil.
5. Use a sharp sturdy potato peeler to shave the Padano cheese into curls and reserve.
6. Add the sherry vinegar and mint to the lemon infused olive oil and season lightly.
7. Wash the rocket and baby spinach separately then drain well and combine.
8. Blanch the local peas in boiling water for 2-3 minutes then chill down fast under
running cold water.
9. Gently toss in the drained the peas and the croutons.
10. Remove the lemon peel and dress the salad at the very last minute.
11. Scatter on the Padano curls and serve.
Choose the rocket carefully; look for green and unbruised leaves. Never buy croutons from the store, make your own if you have time. When washing salad leaves don't wash them under running water as this could bruise the leaves. Fill the sink or container first then stir in the leaves gently and drain in a salad spinner. As an alternative you could add some slices of warm grilled chicken breast for a great light lunch and serve a side dish of buttered new potatoes.