This salad is a lovely way of celebrating the new season’s home-grown produce, with its uniquely fresh flavour and texture. However as most vegetables are shipped in from abroad all the year round, you could make it at any time.
It is an ideal way of stretching out a medley of individual varieties - I recommend that you use at least six of the different vegetables listed in the recipe. Choose them according to your taste and pocket and what’s available, and adapt quantities to the number of portions you need.
It is important to cook the vegetables for the briefest time necessary, so that, (apart from the potatoes), they retain some bite, and then, once drained, to pour your dressing over them whilst still hot, so that the flavours soak in.
The salad works well as an everyday side dish, but could also form a delicious and eye-catching element of a more formal meal. And versatile too, as you can easily turn it into a substantial meal by topping the vegetables with hard boiled eggs and anchovies, toasted nuts, chunks of salmon/tuna, or strips of grilled halloumi/steak.
Store any leftovers in a tupperware box in the fridge - unlike most salads, this one tastes just as good the next day.
Any combination of:
New potatoes and/or Jerusalem artichokes Young carrots, turnips or parsnips Cauliflower Fennel bulb Young broad beans Courgette, smallish Leek Broccoli, tenderstem Asparagus Mange tout/sugarsnap peas French beans Red pepper 2 fat cloves garlic Salt and black pepper 2-3 tablespoon lemon juice or white wine vinegar 5-6 tablespoons cold pressed olive or rapeseed oil Handful of parsley, chopped
Rocket leaves, edible flowers, eg marigold, viola, nasturtium or borage Pomegranate seeds
Wash your vegetables and prepare as follows:
Scrub and peel the roots. Cut lengthways into 1-2cm strips.
Cut or break cauliflower into 1-2cm florets.
Trim the fennel and cut into 6 -8 wedges.
Top and tail the broad beans, leaving them whole if they are young and tender, otherwise pod them.
Cut the courgette into long 1-2cm strips.
Trim the leek and slice through the green part. Hold under the cold tap to allow any mud to rinse away. Then cut into quarters, lengthways.
Top and tail the French beans and peas.
Snap off the woody ends of the asparagus.
Roast the pepper under the grill or over a gas flame till the skin blackens. When cool enough to handle peel off the skin, remove the seeds and cut into strips. Set aside.
Crush the garlic with the salt and put into a small bowl with the freshly ground black pepper, lemon juice or vinegar, parsley and oil.
Stir the dressing thoroughly to combine all ingredients, set aside.
Put the root vegetables into a wide, lidded pan, just cover with cold water, and add a pinch of salt.
Cover, bring to the boil, then lay the cauliflower, fennel, broccoli, leek, and courgette strips on top, replace the lid, bring back to the boil, and cook for a couple more minutes.
Remove the lid, and layer the rest of the vegetables on top, tenderest last, so that they cook in the steam.
Cover and cook for a couple more minutes.
Test the potatoes with the point of a sharp knife. As soon as they are cooked, drain the vegetables in a colander.
Once they can be handled arrange them and the pepper strips on a serving platter or shallow bowl.
Give the dressing another stir and spoon it all over them while they are still hot.
Serve warm, or at room temperature.
If you like, just before serving garnish with rocket, pomegranate seeds, or flower petals.