Rodney Dunn’s Leaf Salad with Anchovy Salad Cream

Serves: 4

A few years ago – actually six by my count (!) – Nat and I did a Hobart (Australia) holiday.

It is a quiet city, though it is just lovely. Good food, quiet as I said, unassuming, a very organic feel to it. Shops closed on Sunday (bless), cold, as close to the Antarctic as one can reasonably get without driving to the bottom of the island.

The sometimes forgotten state of mainland Australia. (Though one of my brothers lives there, so slightly less forgotten!)

When we were there, we travelled an hour from Hobart to a a farm run by Rodney Dunn of the Agrarian Kitchen, which at least at the time, was the number one destination for foodies in Australia.

What a brilliant afternoon. We foraged in his garden and collected everything we needed to cook. He had a greenhouse with some of the more tropical ingredients, and animals further afield that were also part of the meal we cooked.

I’ve gone from a man making signature vinaigrette’s to this as my go-to. (It’s a Caesar just easier. And frankly better. )

I think wheat was the only thing – used in a dough for ravioli – that came offsite.

Anyway, the guy is a genius and so is this salad.

You will think so to.

Ingredients

100gm mixed baby salad greens
1 radicchio, washed, dried and coarsely torn
1 frisée, washed, dried and coarsely chopped
1/2 bunch chives cut into 2cm lengths

Anchovy salad cream

6 anchovy fillets
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp double cream
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp Dijon mustard

Method

  1. For anchovy salad cream, pound anchovies to a smooth paste in a mortar and pestle. Stir in remaining ingredients, season with freshly ground pepper and set aside.
  2. Combine all the salad ingredients in a bowl, drizzle with salad cream, toss to evenly coat leaves and…
  3. Enjoy!

Iceberg’s pea salad recipe

Serves: 4

We have had some just excellent, long lunches at Icebergs which at its best, is much more than a must-try Eastern Suburbs joint for the well heeled.

If you have ever been, you will know the famous pea salad. This is legit the recipe.

We didn’t have enough time to drain the ricotta salata so we crumbed it on top; at Icebergs, it is shaved and the effect is just great.

Ingredients

Salad
1 cup farro
1½ cups cooked peas
5 leaves basil, chopped
5 leaves mint, chopped
1 shallot, finely diced
½ Lebanese cucumber, diced
½ stick celery, diced
25ml vinaigrette (see ingredients below)
Salt and pepper to taste

Vinaigrette

25ml lemon juice
35ml sherry vinegar
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
¾ tsp salt
200ml extra-virgin olive oil
Ricotta salata (salted ricotta) to serve (this is hard to find. We mixed a tub of ricotta with salt and let it drain over a fine mesh sieve sprinkling with salt. It takes at least 2 days for the liquid to drain away – see here)

Method

  1. Cook the farro in plenty of lightly salted water for 20–30 minutes or as per the packet instructions. Drain and allow to cool to room temperature.
  2. To make the vinaigrette, combine the vinegar, mustard, salt and lemon juice and then the oil. Do not emulsify.
  3. Combine the herbs, peas, farro, cucumber, celery, shallot seasoning and 25ml vinaigrette. Place the dressed salad in bowl, coat with a fine grating of salted ricotta and serve. Store excess vinaigrette in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Karen Martini’s Cabbage Salad

Serves: 8

You really can’t go wrong with anything Karen Martini.

This salad is no exception.

We served it along-side some wicked BBQ chicken and lordy, this was a good combination.

And healthy too.

Enjoy.

Ingredients

1/2 cabbage, very finely shredded
6 mint sprigs, leaves picked and torn
6 red radishes, very finely sliced
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp ground caraway seeds!
1/2 lemon juiced
100 mls olive oil
Sea salt and pepper

Method

  1. Whisk together the caraway, lemon juice, olive and salt and pepper.
  2. Toss the dressing with the cabbage, mint, radish and onion, and stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Ranch, Iceberg Lettuce Salad

Serves: 4 – 6

As soon as Covid hit Sydney, we purchased a Kamado BBQ.

They’re brilliant and I cannot recommend enough.

An ancient form of cooking in a ceramic egg, the heat retention is extraordinary. A pile of charcoal can last several BBQs.

You can cook at 60c, smoking away for a day or take it up to 450c to blast a tomahawk steak in literally minutes.

We’ve cooked pizzas and slapped naan on the roof. We’ve done amazing skewers of chicken tikka. Slow cooked ribs, slow cooked pork shoulder. Lordy.

It takes practice and I recommend one of the many WiFi/Bluetooth heat thermometers, though the theatre, the fun and of course, the incredible flavours make this a very good – and long-term – investment.

Being us, we have recreated a number of memorable meals we have had out. And being Covid, with so many of our favourite restaurants – and countries – closed, we had no choice.

One of our favourite Sydney restaurants is Gowings in the QT.

It is just a great dining room. Warm, buzzing, swift service, down-the-line great mains and great sides.

Nat served this salad from Gowings on one of our Kamado nights and it won the show.

It looks the part, it pairs perfectly with a steak, grilled chicken or a pork schnitzel: and you can prepare it ahead of time.

A bit of extra effort makes the restaurant. And restaurant-quality this is.

Ingredients

1 cup Greek yoghurt
1 garlic clove, grated
2 tbsp chopped spring onions or chives
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp vegetable stock powder (you can grate or chop a stock cube)
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp yellow or Dijon mustard
6 rashes streaky bacon, cubed
Iceberg lettuce or 3x cos lettuce

Method

  1. Fry bacon until crispy.
  2. Whisk all dressing ingredients in a bowl to combine.
  3. Cut lettuce into 4-6 pieces and lay on a flat plate.
  4. Sprinkle bacon and dressing on top of lettuce.

Paul Bocuse’ Chicken Salad

Serves: 3

This Paul Bocuse salad is just excellent.

(Not that one would be surprised coming from one of the greatest chefs of all time!)

Such a wonderful, sophisticated flavour. Everything balances, everything is just right.

Definitely a Saturday lunch winner.

(The recipe calls for white baby onions. These ARE NOT those appalling things you can find pickling in jars. You’ll have to shop around – Harris Farm or a nice IGA – though they are out there. If you use those onions in a jar, a curse will come over your kitchen!)

Ingredients

2 chicken breasts, skinless and boneless
Cos lettuce, sliced
3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
2 white baby onions, sliced finely
100 gm Gruyère cheese, diced
100 gm black olives, pitted and torn
3 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
100gm walnut pieces
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
6 tbsp olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 clove garlic, finely chopped

Method

  1. Poach the chicken in water together with some celery leaves and peppercorns and then cool and slice into strips.
  2. Place the chicken, celery onion, cheese, olives, tomatoes and walnuts in a large bowl and chill.
  3. Whisk together the vinegar, oil, garlic, salt and pepper.
  4. Pour the dressing over the salad just before serving and toss well.

Chicken and Lime Salad

Serves: 2

At a certain point over the Christmas/New Year break, all of us yearn for a culinary breather.

An end to the eggnog, ham and Champagne. A meal that isn’t 1,200+ calories (before the wine!).

Which is where – thankfully – this clever salad comes in.

Repent and enjoy.

Ingredients

2 chicken breasts, poached and thinly sliced
1 Lebanese cucumber, diced
12 cherry tomatoes, halved
Juice of two small limes
1 red chilli, deseeded and sliced
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tsp vegetable oil
2 tsp palm sugar
Chopped coriander
Lime wedges

Method

  1. Mix together the lime juice, chilli, fish sauce, oil and palm sugar and correct the flavours.
  2. Mix together the cucumber and tomatoes and arrange on plates. Arrange the sliced chicken over the vegetables.
  3. Spoon over the dressing, garnish with the coriander and serve with the lime wedges.

Pear, Rocket and Parmesan Salad

Serves: 4

Nothing compliments pizza and pasta better than a salad.

This rocket, pear and Parmesan salad is right down the line and reasonably healthy.

You may actually eat it when the pizza runs out!

Ingredients

2 pears (Beurre Bosc if you can), cored and thinly sliced
2 tbsp pine nuts, lightly toasted
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
125gm baby rocket leaves
Lemon juice
Salt and pepper

Method

  1. Combine the oil, vinegar and a good squeeze of lemon juice, season and whisk well.
  2. Lightly toss together the pear, rocket and Parmesan, drizzle over the oil combination and toss once more.

Rick Stein’s Pickled Onion and Pineapple Salad

Serves: 4 – 6

This is a really simple, colourful, Rick Stein Indian salad that perfectly cuts through fatty Indian dishes such as pork curries.

Ingredients

1 small red onion, thinly sliced
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp sugar
300gm pineapple, peeled and cut into 2cm pieces
A few fresh coriander leaves

Method

  1. Toss the onions together with the vinegar, sugar and salt and leave to marinate for an hour.
  2. Strain off any excess liquid, then toss the onions with the pineapple chunks, scatter with coriander and serve.

Jamie Oliver’s Sesame Butterflied Chicken

Serves: 2

This is a magic dish and sans the chicken, it would make an amazing, healthy salad.

The magic is the sauce: yoghurt, peanut butter, ginger and lime juice. Plus more lime and soy for the slaw.

We were really surprised at just how tasty this dish was and I commend it to your run sheet for next week’s dinners.

Ingredients

100gm fine rice noodles
2 skinless chicken breasts
Vegetable oil
4 spring onions, finely sliced
1/2 Chinese cabbage, finely shredded
200gm sugar snap peas, finely sliced
1 red chilli, finely sliced
2 limes
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp peanut butter
2 tbsp yoghurt
2 cm piece of ginger, finely grated
2 tsp sesame seeds, lightly toasted

Method

  1. In a bowl, cover the noodles with boiling water until they are rehydrated. Drain and set aside, ensuring they do not stick.
  2. Slice into the chicken breasts and open them out like a book. Rub with 1 tsp of vegetable oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Heat a pan over a medium-heat and cook the chicken. Set aside to cool slightly.
  3. Combine the spring onions, Chinese cabbage, sugar snap peas and chilli in a bowl. Dress with the juice of 1 lime and the soy sauce.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix the peanut butter with the yoghurt, grated ginger and the juice of the remaining lime. Season.
  5. Slice the chicken and sprinkle with the sesame seeds.
  6. Divide the noodles between bowls, add the slaw, the sliced chicken and the peanut sauce.

Avocado Chicken Salad

Serves: 4

There was debate about whether this recipe should be typed up.

Not because it isn’t great or super healthy, though because it is just a bit too simple. It’s almost not a recipe.

(Plus Natalie had never had bacon and coriander and wasn’t sure if they went together, not withstanding that they obviously do because the whole salad tastes amazing.)

Anyway, it was the boys – Oliver and Tom – that pushed me to type this up. They loved the salad and wanted it somewhere so they could make it for their kids one day.

Make it fun like we did and put the ingredients in separate bowls: let people make their own unique salad, toss with the lime juice and olive oil and enjoy.

How good is healthy!

Ingredients

2 chicken breasts, grilled and shredded
2 ripe avocados, pitted and diced
1/2 cup corn, grilled and hulled
1/4 cup red onion, minced
4 rasher of bacon, chopped and fried
2 tbsp coriander leaves
2 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. In a large bowl, add the shredded chicken, avocado, onion, corn, bacon and coriander.
  2. Drizzle with the lime juice, olive oil, season with salt and pepper and toss gently to combine.

(Tomato, cucumber and black beans would also compliment this salad.)