Although I might spend my days writing about food and photographing it for a living, when it comes to dinner in my house, during the summer months most nights we eat pretty much the same thing – a piece of fish or meat and lots of salad, maybe with the addition of a few boiled new potatoes. I know it may sound repetitive but there is such an array of fantastic salads to choose from that I never tire of them. This simple Cucumber & Radish salad is actually a pickle and the dressing (a combination of rice vinegar, sugar and salt) is the very same mixture which is used to dress sushi rice. If you wanted to make this salad into a more substantial meal, without the addition of fish or meat, you could simply cook some Japanese rice and use a little of the dressing to flavour it.
The second recipe today can be a salsa or a salad. I love it as a salsa on a piece of bruschetta drizzled with extra virgin olive oil or else spooned over some fish or grilled chicken or steak. Both salads work well with salmon, as the acid of the vinegar/lime are excellent at cutting the fattiness of the fish. I particularly like the lightly smoked fresh salmon which you can readily buy now a days. But if you fancy turning this salsa into something more substantial, why not add a couple of avocados to your Riverford order and you have a meal in itself. Don’t forget that Riverford also has an impressive list of herbs at the moment, which always enliven any meal, so get them whilst you can!
Japanese Style Cucumber & Radish Salad with Sesame
2 tbsp. rice vinegar
2 tbsp. caster sugar
1 tsp. sea salt plus a little extra
1/2 a cucumber
5 or 6 fat radishes
1 tbsp. toasted sesame oil
1 tsp. black or white sesame seeds
Small bunch dill (chopped finely)
Put the rice vinegar, the sugar and the salt in a small saucepan and heat gently, stirring until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Thinly slice your cucumber and radishes. (Hopefully you will have invested in a mandolin, as I recommended last week, because these are great for this.) Put the cucumber slices in a colander and season with some salt and leave to drain. The salt will draw out excess water from the cucumber slices which would dilute the dressing. Once the cucumber has slightly collapsed, squeeze gently and put into a bowl. Add the radish and the cooled dressing along with the sesame oil. Check seasoning and mix through the dill and sesame seeds.
Tomato, Spring Onion, Chilli, Coriander & Lime Salsa / Salad
6 ripe tomatoes
2 spring onions (or the tops from your bunched onions)
Small bunch of coriander
1-2 small fresh red chilli, deseeded and very finely chopped
A glug of extra virgin olive oil
2 ripe avocado (for the salad only)
Cut your tomatoes into 8th and chuck them in a bowl. Finely shred the spring onions and add them. Squeeze the juice from the lime and add 1/2 to the tomatoes with a good pinch of salt and a glug of olive oil. Roughly chop the coriander and add that along with i/2 the chilli. Stir well and check seasoning. Add more chilli and lime to taste. It should be quite pokey.
If you are adding avocado then peel them and chop into large chunks. Squeeze over the last of the lime to stop the avocado discolouring and then stir through well with the tomatoes.