Sunday, 5 July 2009

A Summer Salad

You'll excuse me for my brevity - it's summer. It's hot. The days are long and we're all reveling in it. Especially baby A&N, who wakes with the sunrise. At 4.30am. Full of the joys of life, which is nicer than being a misery guts, but by 9am we're all flagging and in need of a long perfumed bath (or perhaps that's just my tonic).

Dinners have needed to be cooling (no ovens, please), quick and easy (god we're tired), but without sacrificing taste. Cookbooks could be written and sold by the hundreds based on those criteria. But we're too tired to find the right cookbook, so after a bit of head scratching and repeated staring into the fridge for ingredients on hand, this is the result.

A flexible summer salad, adapted to whim/what's available. The key ingredients are an anchovy dressing, a grilled vegetable of some description (aubergine in this case, but just as easily courgette or pepper), and a bit of something from the bacon family (we used some lovely pancetta, from a specialist Italian organic farmer, having a pedigree better than I do. Probably wasted in this salad, but did I mention we're too tired to think creatively?). It was salty and wet, filling and fresh, meaty and crisp. It will make an appearance again, probably in a slightly different guise, probably later this week when we're too tired to think. Again.

A Summer Salad
Serves 2 as a main course with left over for 1 lunch

  • 1 aubergine, cut into thin slices
  • (touch of olive oil for the aubergines and pan frying)
  • 70g of pancetta or bacon
  • 1 small gem lettuce or 2 handfuls of baby spinach
  • 100g green peas
  • 100g broad beans
  • handful of sundried tomatoes, rehydrated and roughly chopped (or just chopped if using ones in oil)
  • 250g pasta
  • 3 anchovies, very finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 5 Tbsp olive oil (or 4 Tbsp if using tomatoes in oil)
  • 1 clove of garlic, very finely chopped
  1. Lightly sprinkle the aubergine slices with olive oil, then grill at 180C for about 15 minutes or until tender. Set aside to cool slightly, then cut into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Pan fry the pieces of pancetta or bacon until nicely crispy, then set aside to cool slightly.
  3. Briefly boil the peas and broad beans until just tender, then quickly put in a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking a preserve the flavor. Drain.
  4. Boil water for the pasta, and cook until desired consistency. Drain and cool down under some cold running water.
  5. Chop the lettuce and place in a bowl, and add in the peas and beans as well as the chopped tomatoes. Add the aubergine and pancetta once cooled, as well as the pasta.
  6. Make the dressing by stirring together the anchovy, vinegar, olive oil and garlic.
  7. Pour the dressing over the salad bits and adjust for flavoring.


MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Wow well all I need with that is a glass of wine with the left over!
Hot is the word here too. Oh and tired! Yes Hot & Tired;)

Elra said...

This sounds like very satisfying salad for summer. Perfect for the weather.

Beth said...

Looks delicious. I remeber those days of early morning - had to invest in a blackout blind and blackout curtains - seemed to do the trick. Luckily my next baby is due in October, so hopefully the darker mornings will mean no really early ones!!

Lisa Michelle said...

That salad looks so refreshing, I can almost taste it. I love the eggplant aka aubergine addition and anchovy dressing :)

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

A lovely summery dish - and perfect for the weather we've been having!

Talita said...

What a delicious salad! With all these ingredients I have no doubt it's tasteful!

jasmine said...

The salad looks delicious. We're having decent temperatures over here. This means that people complain for the lack of searing heat. Me, I'm happy without it...summer is much more tolerable with temps in the 20-25C range (and no humidity) than in 35-40C (plus humidity).


Tiina said...

That looks really tasty! I love pasta salads.


Annemarie said...

Hi Tanna - Oh yes, and the glass of wine - that was definitely present. :)

Hi Elra - it did just hit the spot.

Hi Beth - We taped cardboard boxes to the window this past weekend (old wine boxes in fact - classy) and so far so good. Good luck with baby number 2!

Hi Lisa Michelle - The eggplant was my favorite bit, meaty and great at soaking up flavors.

Hi Forkful - yes, it was perfect food. Shame the weather is now making me long for stews and things...

Hi talita - thanks!

Hi Jasmine - don't forget, Jasmines wilt in the heat. :)

Hi Tiina - I love how pasta salads can be so adaptable.

the twins said...

that looks great, i love pasta and sun dried tomatoes!

webay said...

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