Simple concepts and effortless execution belie the bright boldness of these two salads. Served alongside some roasted or barbecued meat and bread or potatoes - what more do you need? Well, something crisp to drink too, of course!
Bloody Mary Salad
Cut tomatoes into 5mm thick slices either with a sharp knife or on a mandolin. Arrange on a serving plate. Squeeze the remaining stem ends of the tomatoes over the slices to extract as much extra juice as you can. Drizzle over the extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Combine the vodka, lemon juice, Worcesteshire sauce and Tabasco and pour over tomatoes. Scatter over the capers, preserved lemon and celery leaves and serve immediately.
Orange, Fennel and Black Olive Salad
Serves 4 - 6 as a side
1 bulb of fennel, trimmed and
16 - 18 pitted Spanish black olives
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 T sherry vinegar
Sea salt flakes
Prepare the oranges by slicing off each end and then slicing down and around the curve of the orange, taking care to remove as much of the bitter white pith as possible (see image below). Cut into 5mm slices using a sharp knife or mandolin and arrange on a platter.
Remove any bruised or damaged outer parts of the fennel. Shave very finely (about 2mm thick) using, again, a very sharp knife or mandolin. Arrange over orange pieces (if not serving the salad immediately, place fennel slices into some acidulated water to prevent discolouration). Scatter over olives.
Combine the oil, vinegar, salt and pepper and drizzle over salad. Scatter over the reserved fennel fronds and serve immediately.
, I'm all about the platter salad at the moment! It's such a simple yet attractive way to present food. I love how you can see all the ingredients and the dressing is able to soak into everything, rather than pooling in the bottom of a bowl. All you need to do is arrange some sliced stuff on a platter, prettily scatter over some flavour-packed morsels and douse with a complementary dressing, usually hot and/or sharp for me. You could use this template for any number of combinations: sliced peaches, prosciutto and buffalo mozzarella? The classic watermelon and feta with some mint or fresh oregano? They shout summer eating to me - simple, fresh food that lifts the spirits both to behold and to eat.
I was excited to make these as I got to use my new favourite kitchen toy: a mandolin I got for my birthday last year. While I'm not very into gadgets, there are a few kitchen tools that make life much easier, and a simple mandolin is one of them. Made slicing those tomatoes, oranges and fennel an absolute breeze. Thanks husband! I can't claim the Orange, Fennel and Black Olive Salad as my own, however, as versions of this are found across the Mediterranean (and the Internet!). The Bloody Mary Salad came to me some time ago, but I have since found - unsurprisingly - that many other cooks have had the same idea. If there's a cocktail that lends itself to being transmogrified into salad, it has to be the Bloody Mary! Though this is obviously an adults-only salad, you could omit the vodka (and maybe tone down the spice) if serving it to children. We ate these alongside some roasted butterflied chicken (recipe, such as it is, in the works), some roasted potatoes that had been pre-boiled and thrown in alongside the chicken for the last half hour, and a simple leaf salad, but I can imagine them really coming into their own at a barbecue, where their acidity and freshness would cut the richness of marinated meat cooked over coals. And to complete the picture, a glass of cool rosé. Well, a girl can dream.