Stephen’s Caprese Inspired Salad
There are many recipes for a Caprese salad, but all include tomato, mozzarella and basil. This one also includes these ingredients. I have used my home grown heritage tomatoes and lemon basil which worked really well.
I also added some crusty ciabatta bread which helped soak up the oil and tomato juice. When I say add just before serving, I mean just before serving: the bread goes soggy quite quickly. Now, this is important, above I have said use the freshest ingredients possible. Discount this when it comes to bread. Fresh bread works fine, but let’s be honest, it’s not the best as a component in a salad! Where possible use a stale bread. it absorbs the sauces slower and holds its structure better.
On top of this I always use an oil-heavy bread like ciabatta as is maintains a good flavour when stale and again absorbs slightly more slowly. It is fine having sauces in the crevices of the bread, but when the liquid breaks down the bread between the bubbles, that is when you have an issue. Finally my salad differs from the traditional as I use both fresh and semi-dried tomatoes (you can use sun-dried or sun soaked instead, but homegrown dehydrated works for me).
- 1 extra large tomato
- 2 large tomatoes
- 4 medium tomatoes
- 8 cherry tomatoes
- Dehydrated tomatoes soaked in oil (or sun soaked/sun-dried)
- 1 handful of lemon basil leaves,
- 1 ball of mozzarella
- 150g of stale ciabatta bread, cut or torn into rough squares
- a good glug of olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Chop the fresh tomatoes into a range of random shapes and place in the serving bowl.
- Chop the dehydrated tomatoes into small pieces. Add to the bowl of fresh tomato.
- Tear the basil leaves into pieces and add to the bowl.
- Tear the mozzarella into large pieces (make about 10 pieces out of the ball) and add to the bowl.
- Add the pieces of bread to the bowl with a glug of olive oil.
- Mix the ingredients together well and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve as soon as possible so that the bread is still firm.
Hot Herby Salad with Olive and Courgette
This is a lovely dish to compliment some grilled meat, a turkey steak or lamb cutlet would work well, or if you want to stay vegetarian, some griddled winter squash (a hard one like butternut or cusquena). Basically it is quite a universal dish that works well with most toppings.
3 baby courgettes
3 courgette flowers
300g mixed quinoa and other grains (wheatberries, freekah or spelt)
Juice of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 lemon
1 large glug of olive oil
1 teaspoon of chopped fresh chilli (I used a lemon drop chilli from my allotment)
- 1 teaspoon chipotle chilli flakes
- Start by finely chopping the chilli and place in a small dish with the oil and let it seep until ready to dress. Add the chipotle to the oil.
- Chop all of the herbs finely. Place into the bowl you want to serve in.
- Place the juice and zest of the lemon into the herbs.
- Use kitchen paper to dry the olives of their brine. You want the flavour of the olive to come through.
- Mix the grain mix through the herbs and olives (merchant gourmet sell packs of the grains ready cooked, or you can cook your own).
- Chop the baby courgette into thin slices and scatter over the top of the salad.
- Chop the courgette flower petals into thin slices and sprinkle over the salad.
- Finally drizzle the oil and chilli over the herb salad.