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The Art of The Savoury Salad

by on September 9, 2014
 

 

I love salads.

What a lame beginning.

I’m unsure of myself here. Today. On my own blog. I can’t believe its been three months since I was here last.

Sigh, life is happening even as we speak. And still, I love salads. And I’m here. Showing up on the page.

Talking about the wonders of savoury salads. Of colours and textures, of layers and flavours. And green and root vegetables.

I’m of the opinion that there is a general formula for salads and its always about balance – therein lies the art. About that combination of sweet and salty, spice and crunch. And heft sometimes, lightness – others. Of herbiness. And of a combination of a few of these.

I like how salads run the gamut – from  making me feel as though rivers run through my centre, to being comfort food.

My formula varies but… here it is in general: Focal point + crunch + herbs + sweet + citrus etc etc

I often have salads with no more than a quirt or squeeze of citrus, or a drizzle of olive oil. If I make noodle or grated (carrot, cassava) salads, I love a peanut butter dressing.

Here it goes, a brief discussion on the ‘elements’.

Focal point

There should be one main ingredient around which the salad is built, constructed. That could be some vegetable or grain, or cereal. Something to gift/give the dish a name.

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Thai Green Papaya Salad with Tomatoes, Peanuts, Chilies

Case in point? Beetroot salad. Should have beetroots front and centre. And Beetroots with a salty cheese and orange are a classic. In this case, I replace the oranges with kumquats.

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Beetroot Salad: Boiled beetroots, Kumquats, Lettuce, Blue Cheese, Walnuts

Some ingredients work well together – tomatoes, cheese, basil. Fennel and Orange. Beetroot with walnuts or pecans. Noodles with sesame seeds or peanuts.

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Tomato Salad, with a Vinagrette, Shallots and Parsley

The focus could also be protein – meat, seafood, poultry – some flaked fish, soft boiled eggs, roast chicken, suya – these are a few of my favourite things.

The finished dish of #Tapioca and #Coconut, served in a #coconutshell. #NewNigeriankitchen #modernNigeriancooking #contemporaryNigeriancuisine #Nigerianfood #Nigeriansalads #Nigeriancuisine #Nigerianrecipes #foodagram #instafood #instagood #fusioncuisine

Tapioca and Coconut with smoked Fish, chilies, herbs and lots of lime

Crisp & Crunch

From vegetables, or fruit, or nuts and seeds.

Like a Cucumber and Apple salad, where crisp and crunch bring texture and lengthen chewing which is good for fullness, digestion and portion control. Apparently, each mouthful should be chewed twenty or thirty times before being swallowed. As in…they should be liquid.

Apples, cucumbers and green pepper salad with cilantro

Cucumbers & Apple Salad with Green Bell Pepper and Cilantro

Seeds and nuts – both raw and toasted lend something too. Best sprinkled on just before I eating so they remain crunchy.

Sweet

I like an element of sweet in most of my salads. Often dried and fresh fruits work well – a tablespoon or two of raisins, sultanas, cranberries, sprinkled on top or folded into meatier salads.

Fresh fruits – mangoes, stone fruit, berries even can cushion, soften, sweeten stronger flavours.

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Mango Salad, tossed in a spicy herb paste of chilies, ginger, garlic, cilantro and mint

I find they are a good complement for citrus and herbs.

#Lunch #spinachsalad with homegrown #Nigerianstrawberries, #avocado, #cheese and #toastedcashewnuts. Topped with a #vinaigrette of #pomegranatemolasses, #agavenectar, #oliveoil, #saltnpepper. With #wholegraintoast #instafood #healthyeating #eatlocal #

Spinach Salad with Strawberries, Avocados and Toasted Cashews

I tend to combine soft fruits with other soft elements and then I add contrast and crunch with nuts.

Now I can proclaim a love, some understanding of fresh purple figs. I didn't quite get them before. In my mind, figs and Jamie Oliver go together on pizza. I'll get there but first, this right here is the real deal A fig and feta salad with toasted pec

Fig & Cheese Salad, with Toasted Pecans, Feta Cheese, Tomatoes and Herbs

Herby

Soft herbs are my absolute favourties here – I like the combination of intense flavor and scent. Top of my list – cilantro. Cilantro. Cilantro.

I can live without it, but I don’t want to.

Next on the list are scent leaves. Of Nigeria. Fragrant and also known as Efirin – a combination of mint and clove and citrus flavours.

Citrus

From zest to juice and segments, oranges, grapefruit, lemons and limes

#wakame #salad. My favourite salad ever........#wagamama #southampton

Wakame Salad, of seaweed. My favourite ever.

Leafy Vegetable Salads

Greek Salad

Green Pawpaw Salad

Garden Egg Salad

#Lunch #Brownrice and #Wildrice Caramelised onions Sautéed chicken Combined with #pawpaw sautéed in chili sauce. With dried cranberries and pecans. Flavoured with Italian seasoning. Topped with chili sauce and served warm. Delicious, if a tad greasy.

Brown and Wild Rice Salad with sautéed chicken, caramelised onions and pawpaw sautéed in chili sauce. With dried cranberries and pecans.

A few ideas to inspire

Root Vegetable Salads

Indian Potato Salad

Tomato Salad

Grain & Noodle Salads

Soba Noodle Salad, with peanut butter dressing

Fattoush, with pita bread

Protein-rich Salads

Fried Catfish with an Olive Salad

Wara (Nigerian Cheese Curd) Salad

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Fried Catfish with an Olive Salad

Peace and Love.

What are your favourite salad recipes/combinations?