Salad special

More salads! If you’ve been following this blog for a while you’ll have noticed I post a lot of salad ideas. I have favourite salads I go back to again and again but I also love coming up with new twists to make seasonal produce sing. And as I talked about a few posts ago, the best bit about hosting a barbecue is getting stuck in to lots of delicious salads. Here are two ideas I made tonight to enjoy alongside grilled Moroccan-spiced chicken.

Play around with ideas. The eggplant salad could be made into a substantial meal of its own by adding some grilled halloumi or tofu, as could the potato salad, with some hot-smoked salmon or some moist, juicy smoked kahawai.

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Roasted eggplant with tahini
You can make this with either the dark purple, Italian-style eggplants or the lavender-hued narrow Asian ones. Two large eggplants will make enough to serve 4.

Slice eggplant into inch-wide sticks, douse in olive oil and sprinkle with salt and roast at 190 degrees Celsius for about 45 minutes, until meltingly tender. Stir it once or twice during roasting, and add a bit more olive oil when doing so. Mix a dressing with roughly 1/4 cup tahini, juice 1/2 lemon, 3 tsp honey, 1 tsp sumac, salt and pepper. Turn the roasted eggplant out onto a serving dish and stir through the dressing, along with around 3 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds and a generous amount of chopped flat-leaf parsley.

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New potato & crispy kale salad
I have lots of kale in my garden right now and I love chopping it up, drizzling with olive oil and roasting until crisp (25 mins or so – toss it once or twice during cooking), then either eating it as a snack or adding it to all sorts of dishes. Use whatever you like in this salad – the idea is just to balance the tender, bland potatoes with things that have crunch, bitterness, sharpness.

Cut new or small waxy potatoes into golf-ball size pieces (halves or thirds) and gently boil in salted water until tender. Make a dressing with grainy mustard, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper and stir this through the potatoes, along with finely sliced red onion, sliced green olives and feta. If you like a creamy note, stir through some good quality mayo, too. Scatter over crispy roasted kale and serve.

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