HERE are cheering winter salads that provide a delicious plateful of colour and vitamins for those whose New Year resolutions involve cherishing their health and vitality. Both are enough for four to six people.
Mine is a simple Epiphany Season salad made seasonally sweet by grilling the red peppers and the tomatoes, and enriching it with a little cheese. Using a white cheese makes a beautiful combination of pale and dark greens, scarlet and white, but use any cheese of your choice. I prefer a hard, white goats’ cheese cut in wafer-thin slices, but a softer goats’ cheese can be crumbled into the leaves.
1 small iceberg lettuce
2 large red peppers, halved and de-seeded
2 handfuls of cherry tomatoes, halved
a handful of fresh basil, parsley, and coriander leaves
a handful of watercress
60g (2 oz) white cheese, sliced thinly or crumbled
Grill the peppers, skin side up, and the tomatoes, cut-side up. Wash and tear the leaves, and slice the cucumber. When the pepper skins have blistered and charred, work the skins off and cut the flesh into strips. Toss all the ingredients except the cheese together, and dress with a vinaigrette made of olive oil, cider vinegar, a little English mustard powder, and salt and pepper. Scatter the cheese on top.
Sue Simkins has given me her recipe for Extra-crispy lightly cured coleslaw: with a gorgeous pink dressing, it’s the perfect winter coleslaw.
300-400g (10-14 oz) red cabbage, tough outer leaves and stalks removed
1 red onion, peeled
40g (1½ oz) sea-salt flakes (or rock salt, but not fine table-salt)
40g golden granulated sugar
2 small/medium size carrots peeled
50ml cider vinegar
For the dressing:
6 tablespoons rapeseed oil
1 generous squeeze runny honey
2 rounded teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 small/medium orange
Shred cabbage as finely as possible. Cut onion in half vertically, slice as finely as possible, and separate the slices into thin crescents. Combine the vegetables in a bowl; sprinkle in salt and sugar. Cover, and set aside for 30 minutes. Plunge the lightly cured cabbage and onion into cold water and leave for 5 minutes. Drain in a colander, and plunge again into fresh cold water. Drain again, and spread on a tray lined with layers of kitchen paper. Pat dry. Once dry, combine with coarsely grated carrot. Stir in cider vinegar. Cover and refrigerate for 24-48 hours.
When ready to serve, drain off cider vinegar and blend with the oil honey and mustard. Toss the coleslaw in the dressing and finish with a generous squeeze of orange juice and top with orange zest.