Saturday lunch time - one of my favourite parts of the weekend. Far enough in to the two best days of the week to be relaxing, but with still the thought of time left ahead to savour.
We are the first to enjoy the joys of winter comfort foods at this time of year, with soups, casseroles, and warming pastas and risottos a firm favourite. However, last week an inventive selection of healthy salad recipes is this month's Homes and Garden magazine, by food writer Alice Hart, inspired me to get creative in the kitchen yesterday, with a craving for trying something fresh and new to wake the tastebuds. Her delicious winter salad recipes incorporate robust flavourings to still warm us through on these cold days, but with a flash of summer to brighten the winter gloom. I liked the sound of all her suggested salads, such as 'A winter slaw of Kohlrabi and Apple, Warm roast carrot, chickpea and spinach salad with a tahini dressing' and 'Warm salad of toasted quinoa with feta, beetroot and hazelnuts' to name a few. I shall be giving them all a try over the next couple of weeks, but for now, I shall leave you with the recipe for my first experiment - 'Chilli Squid and roast pepper salad with a preserved lemon vinaigrette' which was absolutely delicious! If you don't care for squid very much, just supplement these for prawns......
Chilli Squid and Roast Pepper salad with a Preserved Lemon vinaigrette.
Jar of ready roasted red peppers
(or 4 large mixed peppers, roasted, skinned and cut in to strips)
12 baby squid, cleaned - tentacles optional
1 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves
1 finely chopped red chilli
wild rocket or mixed salad leaves
2 tbsp pine nuts, lightly toasted
Large pinch of saffron threads
2tbsp sherry vinegar
pinch of sugar
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
2 preserved lemons, quartered, flesh cut away and peel finely sliced
Firstly make the dressing. Whisk the saffron with 1 tbsp of hot water and leave to infuse for a few minutes. Whisk in the sherry vinegar, sugar, extra virgin olive oil, sliced chilli and sliced preserved lemon peel.
Open the squid out like a book by slicing through one side of each squid hood. Using a sharp knife, lightly score the inside with a criss-cross pattern. Toss with the olive oil, chopped garlic and chopped chilli. Sear in a very hot frying pan, along with the tentacles if using, cooking for a minute or so on each side until tinged golden and curled up.
|photos: Sophia Home|
Toss the hot squid, roast peppers and rocket leaves together with the dressing and scatter with the toasted pine nuts and serve. Delicious with a nice cold glass of white wine.....!
Hope you are enjoying your weekend?