Warm Salad, with bacon, Brussels sprouts, Cox’s apple, mackerel, persimmon and 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?!
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!
- 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.
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