Nigel Slater’s Easy Summer Salad Recipes | salad – Low Calorie Diets Tips

AAlmost everything on the table this month is some sort of salad: steamed grains with ripe fruit and herbs; roasted peppers with a salty olive and anchovy dressing; slices of ripe melon and sweet shellfish; or a recipe to use the last asparagus of the year. As summer progresses, there might also be a potato salad, still warm and steaming, tossed with olive oil, lemon and chopped fennel leaves, or dill, smoked mackerel and jagged peeled chunks of cucumber.

There may be a little meat – a plate of thinly sliced ​​cold roast pork with lots of snow-white fat and a crispy crust, or maybe a few soft folds of cured ham. And while there’s only a luxe lunch of fresh crab, there’s also smoked trout or the occasional shrimp marinated in olive oil and lemon, with basil and thin slices of garlic.

Grains like millet or quinoa, couscous (which is grain in appearance only), or bulgur make up the backbone of salads with masses of chopped parsley, dill, and mint. I toss them with apricots (sometimes raw, sometimes grilled) or tomatoes of every shape and color. This time of year we are spoiled for choice when it comes to leafy salads. I’ve put together stunning combinations of hot, spicy, soft and crunchy leaves to go with whatever else is on the table.

Salad with white crab and melon

Some wonderful things happen here: sweet white crabs and ripe, apricot-colored melons; salty capers and a hot tingle of red chilli. Crab is always a luxury, but I’m willing to pay for the occasional treat. The crab and melon taste best when thoroughly chilled, and the melon needs to be really sweet, ripe, and juicy.

Served 4
melon or honeydew melon 1kg (weight before peeling)
white crab meat 500gr
lime juice 2 tbsp
Parsely 10 g, finely chopped
black pepper

For the dressing
lime juice 50ml (1 or 2 ripe limes)
olive oil 50ml
coriander leaves a hand full
capers 2 Tea spoons
red chilli 1 small, finely chopped

For the dressing, pour the lime juice into a medium bowl big enough for the melon. Stir in the olive oil, then add the whole coriander leaves and capers. Finely chop the chilli, remove the seeds and add to the dressing.

Peel the melon and discard the seeds. Thinly slice the flesh, then toss gently with the dressing and set aside. (You can leave it in the dressing in the fridge for an hour or more, but not overnight.)

Place the crab meat in a bowl, add the lime juice, chopped parsley and some black pepper. Then mix gently with a fork. You don’t want to crush the crab’s sweet, white flakes. Place the melon and its dressing on a serving plate. Stack crab and parsley salad on top and bring to the table.

Salad from the last asparagus

Salad from the last asparagus
Photo: Jonathan Lovekin/The Observer

The British asparagus season traditionally ends on June 21, the day of the summer solstice. As a thank you to the asparagus gods, I welcome the event with the last asparagus meal of the year. This time the spears are briefly poached and then dressed while still hot with the delicious elderflower dressing by Mark Diacono from his book A year on the otter farm (Bloomsbury, £25). It’s something I usually use with light and tender summer foliage like lettuce. Since this is a celebration of sorts, sprinkle a few flowers — nasturtium, arugula, or chives — on top, if you like.

Served 4
For the asparagus
asparagus 24 spears
rocket flowers a handful (optional)

For the dressing
Elderflower syrup 2 tbsp
white wine vinegar 1 tbsp
olive oil 1 tbsp

Bring a deep pot of water – big enough for the asparagus – to a boil and lightly salt the water. Shorten the asparagus spears and remove the tough ends.

When the salted water is boiling, add the chopped asparagus spears and cook until tender, 7-8 minutes. Exact timing will depend on the age and girth of your spears, so test regularly with the tip of a kitchen knife.

Prepare the dressing: Whisk together the elderflower syrup and vinegar with a little salt and pepper. Add the oil and beat until the mixture forms an emulsion. taste for seasoning.

Lift the asparagus spears out of the water and carefully shake dry. Place them on a long serving platter, pour the dressing over them and toss them gently until the asparagus is coated, then sprinkle with arugula blossoms.

Grilled peppers, tomatoes and tapenade

Grilled peppers, tomatoes and tapenade
Photo: Jonathan Lovekin/The Observer

The flavors of midsummer – ripe peppers and rippled tomatoes, purple-black olives and anchovies. I roasted the peppers so you get a puddle of caramel-colored roast juice to drench the hot toast, but you can grill the peppers if you prefer. If you choose this route, use a generous drizzle of olive oil to flavor the toast before attaching the peppers.

2 serves
red or mixed peppers 300g
olive oil
tomatoes 4 medium
red wine vinegar a little
Sour Dough Bread 4 discs

For the tapenade dressing
pitted black olives 125g
anchovy fillets 8th
Parsely 2 tbsp
olive oil 2 tbsp

Set the oven to 180°C fan/gas mark 6. Place the peppers in a skillet, drizzle over 3 tablespoons olive oil, and roast until puffy and darkened in spots, 40 minutes.

For the dressing, finely chop the black olives and anchovies and mix together. You can do this by hand or with a food processor in seconds. Chop the parsley and stir into the olives along with the olive oil. You can store this mixture in the fridge for several days if needed.

Remove the peppers from the oven, cover with a lid and let rest for 20 minutes. The steam they generate by covering them loosens their skin. Peel and discard the skin from the peppers, then cut each pepper in half and scrape out any seeds. Lay the peppers flat on a serving platter.

Cut the tomatoes into thin slices. Drizzle with some red wine vinegar and olive oil and season with black pepper.

Toast the bread on both sides, then dress while still warm with a little paprika oil. Place a piece of roasted pepper on each slice of toast, then a spoonful of tapenade dressing and serve with the sliced ​​tomatoes.

Summery herb frittata salad with green olives and thyme

Summery herb frittata salad with green olives and thyme
Photo: Jonathan Lovekin/The Observer

I make this dressing for both its scent and taste, with its summery notes of green olives and lemon and hints of young, sweet garlic. Dress up the freshly made frittata while it is still warm.

Served 4
For the frittata
spring onions 5
olive oil 2 tbsp
eggs 4
dill fronds 10g
mint leaves 8g
parsley leaves 15g
butter 30g
germinated seeds a handful, like mung beans or lentils
fresh thyme leaves and their flowers 1 tbsp, at the end

For the dressing
olive oil 50ml
pitted green olives 100 g
red wine vinegar 1 tbsp
garlic 1 small clove, peeled
Lemon peel 1 teaspoon
parsley leaves 10g

To make the dressing, place the olive oil, pitted olives, vinegar, garlic, lemon zest, and parsley leaves in the bowl of a food processor and process for a few seconds.

For the frittata, thinly slice the spring onions. Heat the olive oil in a shallow nonstick pan with a heatproof (metal) handle – I use one about 20cm in diameter above the bottom – then add the spring onions and let cook for 3 or 4 minutes until tender are.

Crack the eggs into a bowl and beat lightly with a fork to combine the yolks and whites. Finely chop the dill, mint and parsley leaves, then stir into the beaten eggs and season with salt and pepper. Preheat the overhead grill (oven).

Add the butter to the spring onions and let it melt. Keep the heat at a moderate level. Pour in half of the egg and herb mixture, add any sprouted seeds and let the mixture cook for 3 or 4 minutes until the eggs have set. Place the pan under the hot grill for a minute or two to set the top of the frittata. Slide the frittata onto a cutting board and repeat the process with the remaining egg mixture.

Slide the second frittata out of its pan onto the cutting board and cut into strips about 1cm wide. Transfer to a bowl, add the dressing and toss gently, then transfer to a serving platter.

The green olive dressing is delicious with some fresh thyme or thyme flowers added when you toss the frittata ribbons and dressing together.

Spiced apricot and zucchini couscous

Spiced apricot and zucchini couscous
Photo: Jonathan Lovekin/The Observer

Served 4

vegetable broth 250ml
fine, quick-cooking couscous 125g
apricots 12
Liquid honey 2 tbsp
Cinammon 1 teaspoon
ground coriander ½ tsp
zucchini 4 medium
olive oil 5 tbsp
parsley leaves 10g
mint leaves 5g
flaked almonds 4 tbsp, toasted
lemon juice of ½

Line a grill pan or baking sheet with aluminum foil. Preheat the overhead grill (oven).

Heat the vegetable broth in a small saucepan. Put the couscous in a heatproof mixing bowl and pour in the hot vegetable stock. Stir briefly, then cover with a lid or plate and set aside.

Halve the apricots and remove the stone. Place the honey in a mixing bowl and stir in the ground cinnamon and coriander. Add the apricots and mix the fruit and honey until nicely coated, then tip onto the grill pan or baking sheet. Make sure the fruit is in a single layer, then cook under the heated grill until tender and the honey is starting to caramelize, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from the grill pan and set aside.

Clean the zucchini and quarter lengthways, then cut into short pieces about 3 cm long. In a mixing bowl, add 3 tablespoons olive oil, season with salt and pepper, then add the zucchini and gently toss in the seasoned oil. Place them on the grill pan — whether honey or apricot juice is left behind — and cook them under the grill for 8 or 10 minutes, until tender and blotchy golden. Flip and cook on the other side, then remove from the grill pan and add to the apricots.

Chop the parsley and mint leaves and mix with the slivered almonds, the remaining olive oil and the lemon juice. Insert a fork through the couscous to separate the grains, then add the apricots, zucchini, parsley, mint, and almonds. Check the seasoning.

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