Barbecue season has begun and the best thing about that, I think, is all the salads that go with it. I really must go down the charcoal path (well, not the small, ultra simple charcoal we already have, that is) one of these days, but until then, a lot of the effort I put in to varied and interesting marinades and rubs and cuts of meat and so on, is kind of wasted when you’re cooking with gas. Subtlety is obliterated. So like I say, what excites me about doing a barbecue is thinking of a couple of great salads to go alongside. As always, I always start with the produce I have/what’s in season, and come up with the salad from there. It’s very unusual for me to work with a salad recipe and then go out and source those specific ingredients.
Here’s one I made the other day, with what was in the garden, fridge and pantry. It’s wonderfully crunchy with a dressing like those used in Japanese eateries.
Shred leafy vegetables like white or red cabbage, carrot, kale and add finely sliced red onion (you might like celery, capsicum, fennel also). Scatter over some edible petals, like calendula or nasturtium for colour, and a generous amount of toasted sesame seeds. Dress it: using a Microplane fine grater, grate a small, sweet apple into pulp, then do the same with a peeled clove of garlic. Combine with equal parts sesame oil, grapeseed oil, rice vinegar, then add a splash of apple vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then toss through the salad.