Warm Salad

Warm Salad, with bacon, Brussels sprouts, Cox’s apple, mackerel, persimmon and pumpkin seeds

Warm Salad, with bacon, Brussels sprouts, Cox's apple, mackerel, persimmon & pumpkin seeds

Are there times when you just can’t be bothered to cook. Well, admittedly that wasn’t the case when I first made this salad earlier in the week. Then, it was more a case of it verging on a minor culinary disaster: the normally seasoned pan I use for rösti, and that sort of thing, was no longer seasoned (and I forgot to do that). So, something as simple as frying potatoes brought me out in a sweat, with most of the time spent trying to scrape them off the base of pan. As for the Brussels sprouts, that I love at this time of year, they just wouldn’t cook. I never normally have problems with pan-frying those juicy littl’ nuggets – hold on, in the seasoned pan. In the other one they wouldn’t cook. Like they weren’t happy being there – I know I wasn’t. After huffin’ ‘n’ puffin’, for what seemed like forever, some look better rested after running the marathon by the time I slumped into a chair to eat. Sups still tasted good. But, sometimes there have to be easier alternatives. And this post is exactly that. No cooking involved! More of that, please. Instead, after the initial prep the main ingredients are simply tossed on to or into baking trays/dishes and chucked in the oven. With increments of ten set all that’s needed to do is remove them, stir through and chuck ‘em back in – for the next ten. And so it goes on. As this has been the case most of the week. Tried and tested – I know I am. Hell, who needs a test kitchen anyway?!

Warm Salad, with bacon, Brussels sprouts, Cox's apple, mackerel, persimmon & pumpkin seeds

I know eyebrows will be raised. Why, he’s not perfection personified after all?! Hell, no. That’s only for cameras – and we all know they never lie. As for the salad – humph, I didn’t even bother to dress it on the plate. Which is something I really must do in future. There are so many wonderful ingredients in this warm salad, with an extensive list of nutrients and vitamins, that this does deserve better presentation. Rather than a thick slice of persimmon hogging the show. Just ‘cos they’re in season. And delightful they are, too. As good, if not better, when firm and cooked in crumble. That’s beside the point. Here, all that’s needed is a cursory glance throughout the ingredients list to realise the health benefits – not that nutrition and dietetics is my forté. I’m only trained within catering. And art, design, multimedia and photography…nah, certainly not an expert! What would I know.

What I do know is, I far prefer lunch to be hot – when it’s supposed to be. And not past its best just ‘cos I’ve had to reheat for the umpteenth time for precious photos. Which is partly why I’m spending less time posting savoury recipes right now, as they invariably need to be hot to be photogenic – I’m neither hot nor…sighs. That doesn’t mean I’m not exploring ideas, and developing recipes that an editor at Vogue would simply die for, dahling will be posted at some stage. When I manage to get them sorted, that is. Who knew that a couple of veggie burgers would involve so much testing. And exploring differing ingredients, textures and flavours. All for what? My lunch, off course! I’ll happily spend more time and money on that than any lifestyle publication. Especially when so many of those publications look less enticing than what my local supermarket produces quarterly – for free. As for hero worship of any kind, which seems to be relevant this week, I don’t understand that at all. Although, I am partial to a bit of talent!

Warm Salad


  • oil
  • 250g (8.818 oz) x new potatoes (Tresdale, Jersey used), scrubbed, knobbly bits cut out and discarded and sliced quite thin into discs
  • 250g (8.818 oz) x Brussels sprouts, trimmed and sliced crossways into discs
  • 40g (1.411 oz) x cooked bacon bits, rashers/lardons/pancetta – your choice (and even easier to roast in the oven)
  • ½ x 120g or 82g drained weight (4.233 or 2.892 oz drained) can mackerel in oil, drained and flaked
  • 1 x Cox’s apple, washed, cored and chopped
  • 1 x persimmon, washed, trimmed and sliced (skin kept on to personal choice) – if unripe then slice and roast for 10- 15 minutes
  • 1 x hard-boiled egg, shelled and chopped – optional
  • handful x pitted black olives, rinsed and chopped
  • handful x organic pumpkin seeds
  • ½ x tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, more to personal taste
  • ½ x tablespoon rice wine vinegar, more to personal taste
  • 1 x teaspoon dried marjoram
  • seasoning, both freshly ground sea salt and black pepper (sea salt used sparingly as the bacon can be salty)

Measurements within brackets above are approximate only.


  • Preheat oven to 200°C or 392°F.
  • As the potato discs take longer to roast I prep those first by dumping them into a bowl with at least a tablespoon of oil, sunflower. Make sure they’re well coated, them lay them on a baking tray so they don’t overlap. Get them into the oven, second shelf up in my case, and set the timer for 10 or 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile prep the Brussels sprouts, and bacon if necessary. Do the same with the sprouts, as in coating them nicely in oil. Place in the oven after the first 10 minutes of roasting time.
  • With both the potatoes and sprouts do either turn them over so they roast more evenly or simply spoon through the sprouts to make sure they’re going to be evenly cooked. Times will vary according to the oven use. Mine only took about 30 minutes in total, although I do leave them in for a further 10 with the oven off as I’m preparing the rest of the salad.
  • Prep the rest of the salad. Including the olive oil and rice vinegar, both of which I simply pour over the ingredients. The potatoes I keep separate and add the sprouts to the salad ingredients – and toss.

All photographs within (Todas las fotografías dentro de) Kitschnflavours:
All rights reserved (© Todos los derechos reservados) - Copyright © Johnny Hepburn

33 responses to “Warm Salad

  1. Oh, this sounds beyond fantastic. Love bacon and Brussels sprouts anytime and with so much other yumminess I’m sold. I love how this really does have the full food pyramid, like you said! Wonderful, thanks for the inspiration — I’ll have to try it sometime.

    • I love ‘em, too. But, what on earth to do with them?! Except to pan-fry. Which is why I’m trying to include them in differing recipes. Apart from the obvious; bacon, chestnuts and stuff. Here, this is actually based on a summery salad that I make where I’ve subbed the sprouts for salad leaves instead. Works really well. Slight problem, in that pan-fried sprouts taste even better! Ouch. Oh well, it’s so much easier to roast ‘em.

  2. Looks perfectly styled to me Johnny! and not just the beautiful slice of persimmon… the gorgeous roasted potatoes, that brussel sprout propped above the persimmon, like a flower – it all looks wonderful! Fabulous warm salad!

    • I just love roasted potatoes. And, I’m hoping, these discs are so much healthier than pan-fried. They’re just like thick crisps.

      I’m kicking myself right now as a couple of weeks ago I spotted a beautiful oval serving plate at a price that was easily affordable (in a charity shop). And I didn’t buy it! Seriously, it would’ve been perfect for styling salads.

  3. Hi Johnny,
    Constantly looking for salad recipes. Will try this without the bacon :)

    • Would love to take this a vegetarian route. Grilled Halloumi cheese? It’s so expensive here! And I can’t seem to get into tofu. Am I stereotyping? Forgive me if I am, unintentionally. Especially as I eat mostly vegetarian. As this salad is so easy to throw together I really would like to cook something to go with it. Not even necessarily legumes. Lentils? Hmm…

      • Would feta work, instead of halloumi?
        As a side (because salads are our main dish now) I make dal or make “sundal” which is a protein boost. A quick an easy one: drain a tin of garbanzo and rinse. Heat 1/2 tsp of oil in a wok. Drop in 1/2 tsp of mustard seeds and a few curry leaves. When it sputters add the garbanzo and salt to taste. Cover and cook for 3-4 minutes. Top with grated coconut (this is optional- as a South Indian, we think coconut makes the world a better place. But I know it’s not easy to find, or to everyone’s taste).
        This can be made with different legumes- black eyed beans, peanuts (soaked overnight), peas, split chick peas, kidney beans etc.
        if you have any questions, feel free to ask.

        • Actually, feta might work with its slightly salty flavour. I’m more intrigued by your chickpea/garbanzo idea. Then again, I so would love to be able to cook Indian food. Maybe I’ve mentioned before that I worked Front of House for an English female chef that specialised in Keralan cuisine, undoubtedly the best Indian food I’ve ever had. And I love coconut. Yes, it’s difficult to find. Although, I can find fresh coconuts here. It’s trying to get those open that could cause problems as I don’t even have a hammer :) What else would you use?! Hmm, probably something less extreme.

          Thanks for the info!

          • Are there no Indian shops that sell grated fresh coconut? You could use desiccated, but the taste is not the same. When I used to sail with my husband many eons ago, I used desiccated coconut to make Indian dishes as a substitute for fresh.
            If you hit the fresh coconut hard enough on your counter, you can break it. Keep a saucepan next to you to catch the water. Then break the halves into smaller pieces and get the kernel out. You can scrape off the brown skin with a peeler, and grate the sweet, white part with a box grater. Too complicated?

            • Not that I’ve noticed. In fact, I’ve never seen fresh coconut for sale in London, either. Good to know of the dessicated coconut as I have a bag, as yet unopened, of it in my store cupboard. Hmm, people with normal teeth won’t get this but dessicated coconut, regardless of how much I like its flavour, really sticks in my teeth! It’s something I try not to eat in public, it’s that bad :)

              Too funny. If you knew of the state of my kitchen you would imagine, as I did, holding an intact coconut whilst the rest of the kitchen around it had been demolished! Why do Laurel and Hardy spring to mind?!

  4. Fabulous, fabulous, fabulous! I am happy just with idea and look of persimmon with Brussels sprouts. And then roasted potatoes and crunchy pumpkin seeds and egg in the mix too? … mmm mmm mmm. I do believe this may be my all time favorite recipe of yours – and it’s not because no “cooking is involved, it’s just that I am feel really excited about it and feel compelled to try it.

    • Typical! There’s no cooking involved! Which is why I love it! Okay, enough with the exclamations. Not perhaps original, as in going with Brussels sprouts rather than salad leaves. Works, though. As for the persimmon – so glad they’re in the shops. So, too, are pomegranate – that I don’t know what to do with! Anyway, shouldn’t admit it as I’ll no doubt sound like a right plep, but I happen to prefer persimmon when less ripe. I know, I know, I should keep that wretched info to myself. Yet, I’ve tried them ripe’n’juicy’n’sweet and didn’t care for the texture. So good, when firm, roughly chopped and added to a plum crumble/crisp!

      If you can let me know about any subs. Really would like to do variations on a theme here.

  5. Johnny, seriously, that looks fantastic! I will have to replicate (minus the mackerel) :-) MIL just called to tell me she was sending persimmons, btw, how perfect is that? She has 2 trees. Really gorgeous salad! I want that piece of persimmon right now!

    • Two trees?! I’ve never even seen them grow. The persimmons I’m getting right now are from Valencia, Spain. So good. Had them last week still firm and chopped into a plum crumble/crisp. Delicious. Apart from that I don’t really know what to do with them. Any guidance/suggestions would be appreciated. As their season is so short over here. Would also love to know what you would sub the mackerel with. I’m out of ideas right now!

      • I’ll probably substitute the mackerel with something like smoked turkey. Still waiting for the persimmons to arrive. MIL lives in California, while I’m in the East. She makes cookies out of these fruits. I prefer to enjoy them fresh. When they get soft, I peel them and then throw them in the freezer, and enjoy them like sorbet. So good!!

        • Ah, the idea of smoked turkey. Hmm, chances are you won’t be surprised when I tell you I wouldn’t be able to find it. Or can I? Heading to the superstore tomorrow so I’ll have a look for it. If it’s horribly processed then I probably wouldn’t buy it. It’s just my thing re processed meats of any kind.

          Curious as to which cookies your friend bakes using persimmon. I’ve cooked with it twice already within crumbles/crisp. As the fruit I buy here is sold firm, verging on hard. Perfect to cook with. Must Google for some dessert recipes. And! Oh holy ones. Pumpkins are on sale! Medium for £1. Going to buy a couple of them before the store runs out. Pumpkin pie…can’t wait :)

  6. I really love the idea of this salad! There is such a wonderful variety for the taste buds to enjoy!!

    • Have to admit I do enjoy this. Not just because there’s really no cooking involved. All of those flavours sit so well with my palate. Hah, even though the sprouts do taste even better pan-fried. That surprised me. Still, they do well in replacing salad leaves that I don’t eat enough of when it’s cooler. Having said that, it’s like early summer right now. Amazing weather! What’s wrong with me. Can’t be British and saying that in the same breath!

  7. I think this is genius, honestly what a great salad. I am going to try this with your suggestion of Halloumi, must be honest, I don’t like mackerel. Minus the fish I think this sounds like autumn in a bowl!! Perfect salad for this time of year.

    • Wouldn’t call it genius :) Nice of you to suggest it, though. You know, I’m always on the lookout for grab’n’go veggie food stuff. Can’t really find it. Certainly not stuff I want to go back for. I’ve just had quorn sausages, massively reduced due to their sell-by date, that I certainly wouldn’t pay the full price for. Shame. Anyway, the chicken burger and leek and bacon risotto cake I had them with were so much tastier. Really must do some research on veggie stuff I would buy at least once a week for an easy sups. Any favourites?

      • This time of year I do a lot of roasted roots and squash, butternut, pumpkin. Now is when i really start up with the soups, love pureed soup, I look forward to some of your upcoming soup posts. I am not as adventurous as you nor as creative. I love broccoli rabe with pasta and sausage.

        • Huh, that’s strange that I didn’t catch your comment coming through. Yes, pumpkin! Medium size, which I prefer, are in the local store for only £1. Must buy some in as they won’t be for sale after Hallowe’en. And I’ve got to make pumpkin pie this year!

          The only soups I’ve made recently were to rephotograph several posts. Will have to start making them again. The weather here has been so mild that it doesn’t feel like Autumn at all. Believe me, I ain’t complaining :)

  8. This sounds wonderful Johnny. I love pretty much all of the ingredients you’ve mentioned, with the exception of the mackerel (not sure why, I think I was traumatised by oily fish as a child!) and throwing all into an oven tray is a fabulous idea. I haven’t eaten a persimmon for a very, very long time. I actually like the thick slice of persimmon on the plate… it looks styled, even if you say it wasn’t! Those crispy potatoes look to-die-for. Thanks for the recipe!

    • It’s funny, I’m beginning to realise that quite a lot of people aren’t keen on mackerel. Which is one of the reasons I would love to go with a sub for it. I eat quite a lot of it, partly as I very seldom eat meat. Salmon and trout are probably favourites. Will have to have a rummage around the shops to find a possible sub. Hopefully vegetarian at that. I just don’t want to include legumes/lentils as those have to be cooked to a certain degree.

      So pleased persimmons are in the shops again. Really do like them. So good in that crumble I made last week!

  9. Sounds great. Wonderful color. The persimmon snagged my attention–because I couldn’t figure out what it was . Ripe persimmons here usually are so soft I can’t imagine slicing them crosswise and having the slice keep its shape, especially with no skin. Ken

    • The persimmons available here are from Valencia, Spain and arrive firm to the touch. This year I couldn’t wait for them to ripen so the first two were chopped and cooked in a crumble/crisp. The other, in the photo, was just softening to the touch, and was perfect with this salad. I’m preferring them just ripe. Even though I know they should be ripe and squidgy. I find them not only too sweet, when very ripe, but I’m not overly keen on their (slimy) texture.

  10. That looks pretty good to me, and why not have persimmon hogging the photo? Love persimmons. And this sounds like just the kind of salad I like to eat, so more like this please.

    • Hah, had no intention of going with any more of the same. As I’m not a great salad-y person outside of summer. Even though there are loads of salad ingredients available. Perhaps it’s a shame not to experiment a little more.

  11. An artist’s palette Johnny … truly beautiful and inspiring, especially for this time of year …

  12. Pingback: Three ways with Brussels sprouts | The Novice Gardener

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