Friday, 11 October 2013

Autumn salads

 If spring is the time to make salads of linden leaves, dandelions, hawthorn shoots, lettuces, sorrel and all the other new shoots, then autumn presents an ideal time to make salads out of the roots, tubers and hardy greens that are coming to fruition around now.

For some reason, “salad” in the modern Anglo world has come to mean iceberg lettuce, one of the few vegetables with almost no taste or nutritional value; it’s no wonder that so many people think of eating fresh vegetables as they would going to the dentist. 

Many people, when they look at the root vegetables swelling to an impressive size this month, think of the usual roasted vegetables or soups. If you are looking for another way to cook them, however, or think you dislike a certain vegetable, try it as a salad and see if you can’t make it into something entirely new.  

Carrot – beet salad
My brothers and I grew up convinced we hated beetroot, knowing it only as boiled red lumps. When we started growing our own, however, we began experimenting with salad recipes, and found it like a whole new vegetable.

3 large carrots
2 red beets
2 apples
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
4 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup of chives
¼ cup other garden herbs, like dill, burnet and sorrel.

Shred carrots, beets and apples. Chop scallions. Finely chop garden herbs.

Combine vinegar and oil in a large bowl, whip into a vinaigrette sauce, stir in the herbs, then slowly mix all other ingredients into it. Let stand for an hour. If you want something more Oriental, you can add soy sauce, ginger and sesame oil.

Potato salad
I used to think of potato salad as an oppressively heavy dish, but with salad potatoes, apples, celery and herbs, and with yogurt substituting for most of the mayonnaise, it can be made surprisingly light.

1 kg salad potatoes
4 eggs
4 apples
300g celery
Fresh salad herbs – dill, borage, chives, sorrel
Green onions
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup yogurt                   
1 tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper

Boil potatoes till tender, peel and slice as hot as you can manage. Slice eggs and celery, and dice apples. Chop any fresh herbs you have plus 3-4 green onions. Mix salad sauce and add to warm potatoes, and toss gently. Leave to cool and adjust seasoning.

Tomato salad
We’ve had a brilliant year for tomatoes, and some of us are just getting the last ones out now. If you have some that never turned green, don’t throw them out – fried green tomatoes are a delicacy in the southern USA.

8 large tomatoes – diced
1 medium onion (finely chopped)
1 small garlic clove (finely shredded)
Salt and pepper
1 tsp sugar
1 cup parsley (chopped)
1 ½ tbsp. lemon juice
3 tbsp olive oil or rapeseed oil

Chop onions and garlic. Mix other vinaigrette, ingredients, adjust seasoning. Add tomatoes.  

The following are some of the recipes our family uses; of course, you can experiment and see what suits your taste.


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