As the weather gets cooler we are really starting to see the difference in the prices of fresh produce. As it is no longer the season for tomatoes or cucumbers the price of these have skyrocketed, understandably so! What I am enjoying now is the price of avocados, beetroot and carrots.
Our own vegetable garden is starting to slow down too. We have now harvested most everything and turned the soil over for the next plantings. Some little sprigs of self-seeded rocket have started to poke their heads up and I am grateful for them, adding them to my salads.
This salad just evolved one night and it is a great example of how you can use your Thermomix to help you with some components of the salad, but not for all of it. Doing so, gives you a lovely variation in texture. I also love the way that the colours of the beetroot and carrot stay separate because they aren’t chopped together in the bowl, (unlike the delicious Beetroot Salad) this salad is a feast for the eyes, and the taste buds. The bitterness of the rocket contrasts to the sweetness of the balsamic vinegar and the creaminess of the avocado contrasts to the crunch of the beetroot, carrot and pepitas. In all, it’s a beautiful combination.
Rocket leaves (and beet leaves if you have them growing), washed
1 beetroot, washed, peeled and quartered
2 carrots, washed and chopped into thirds
3 tablespoons of pepitas
1 large handful of herbs; parsley, chives, mint, basil
Balsamic vinegar (See note)
Arrange leaves on a platter, or in a salad bowl. Place beetroot in TM bowl and chop Sp4/5secs. Empty over the rocket leaves, add carrot to TM bowl and chop Sp4/5secs. Sprinkle carrot over salad. Add herbs to TM bowl and chop Sp7/5 secs. Scatter over salad.
Chop avocado into cubes and sprinkle over salad, do the same with pepitas. Dress with balsamic and oil.
Now to dress, this method seems to kill those of you who only follow recipes, but it how I dress most of my salads. It is done very much by feel, look and taste. You can’t dress a salad without your senses. Firstly, buy yourself a really good quality balsamic vinegar I like Mazzetti’s (with the four leaves on the label). I always use this as it is lovely and sweet and given that we use mostly lettuce leaves from our garden and they are often a little bitter, the sweetness is welcomed. Secondly, buy a really lovely aromatic olive oil, just for dressings. Starting with the oil just drizzle it over the top of the salad. Follow with the vinegar and then give it a good toss immediately. A good grinding of salt and pepper on top is also good. Toss again so that all the leaves are coated, you can tell by looking. Add more oil and vinegar if it is needed. Once you get the hang of this and learn by trial and error you can quickly judge how much oil and vinegar you need.
I feel like I am telling some of you gorgeous cooks out there how to suck eggs, but in my experience it is amazing how many people need a recipe to dress a salad. Hopefully this will help them.