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A lot of people believe that a salad is not a meal, it’s just a side that gives a touch of freshness to the whole meal. Why would people choose to eat just a salad all year long? After some consideration and several questions too, not only to people who love salads, but also to chefs and nutritionists, I could understand why this fascination about them.
Salads are not only for people who want to be fit; they are good for everyone! Salads are a great tasty way of eating healthy and variegate different kinds of food. They contain lot’s of ingredients, that’s the beauty of them. In general salads are prepared with raw vegetables which contains lots of vitamins (A,B6,C,E,K, Folic Acid), fibre, minerals (calcium, iron, potassium) and antioxidants. Because when you cook them, most of the times they loses a huge percentage of those advantages.
Besides, for those worried about salads being prepared only with vegetables, I have news, a salad is a free creation, individual and personal. Any ingredient that satifies ones appetite could be used to be part of a salad dish. Meat, ham, cured meats, eggs, olives, capers, fruit, cheese, fish, seafood, nuts, lentils, you name it.
The final touch is the dressing that unites the dish. That is as personal and creative as the person behind the masterpiece. Mustard, lemon, mango, avocado, olive oil, vinegar, herbs, salt, pepper, you choose.
A salad has to be attractive to the eyes and the most important: be consistent. Doesn’t matter if it’s cold or warm. It has to be fresh, colourful, has to have a little crunchiness, texture and be really tasty.
Brown shrimp, white cabbage and chervil.
The crunchiness and freshness of the white cabbage and the smoothness of the brown shrimp are the consistence of this dish. The white cabbage has been shed really thin so the taste doesn’t overpower the other components. The shrimp is present but the quantity is not overwhelming. The secret of this salad is the balance of flavours.
Matched with a Terlaner Classico (Cantina Terlano) from Alto Adige in the North East of Italy, £15.95. A fresh and aromatic white wine, which gives a touch of sophistication and leaves a delicate patina of white flowers, petals and tropical fruit aromas in the palate. The next bite after the wine is even stronger in flavours. The herbs, specially the chervil, are exalted and the capers make a little explosion in the mouth when they are bitten. Finally, the dressing is what gives a sense of union and complementation between all this elements. Olive oil, salt and lime a simple but efficient closure.
Glazed beetroot, watercress, goat’s curd and pine nuts.
This is a warm salad that can be also being eaten cold. The different taste and sweetness from the various types of beetroots gives a sensation of fullness and roundness. The crunchiness of the watercress and the salty flavours of the pine nuts produce some sparkles in the mouth. Combined with the goat’s curd, fresh and smooth, provides a full experience.
To clean the palate and improve the sensation in the mouth, a medium bodied red wine from Piemonte, North West Italy, Colli Tortonesi ‘Braguè’ (Claudio Mariotto), £10.96. This wine produced with Freisa grapes is lovely spicy, elegant and has some hints of wild strawberries and crushed nuts. A perfect match that increases the flavours and amalgamate to the whole concept of the dish.
Romaine lettuce, asparagus, broad beans, pecorino cheese and sundried tomatoes.
Here’s a nice salad for a day under the sun. Something that reminds you of a walk in the countryside. Fresh, with refined and delightful flavours. The asparagus are aided by an increase in flavours from the aromas of the Pecorino cheese, especially with the salt crystals that melt in the mouth. Finally the dressed sun-dried tomatoes elevate the taste of condiments and olive oil. Refreshing and tasteful.
Completing the mental idea of travelling to the Mediterranean, a Gavi di Gavi ‘Lugarara’ La Giustiniana, £15.95, a white wine from Piemonte North West Italy. With beautiful aromas of apple and pears and a delicate palate of almonds and honey. All the necessary elements for a wonderful experience.
All wines available from Vinoteca shop.vinoteca.co.uk
Prices correct at time of publication
Recipes and reviews by Imelda Duffard