Say hello to the plainest-looking, but most insanely delicious salad you’ll meet today.
It’s a humble one, this salad. There’s nothing particularly indulgent or extravagant about it- there’s no meat, or dairy, or wheat, or sugar, or any of those other things that usually make a dish a showstopper. And yet, I’m totally hooked on it. I ate something similar for lunch at The Lancaster hotel way back before Christmas, and had totally forgotten about it until a few weeks ago. Since then, I’ve been making up mass batches a couple of times a week (it keeps well for 48-72 hours in the fridge), and marvelling at how it somehow tastes better and better as the days pass and the tangy vinaigrette dressing melds with the flavours of the roasted vegetables and tart apple pieces.
It’s the roasting of the broccoli and cauliflower that really makes it a memorable dish. Without that 15 minute stint in the oven to bring out their nutty depth of flavour and the slight bitterness of the cauliflower (enhanced by a few chopped almonds and a scattering of creamy toasted pinenuts), this salad would really just be a crudite platter that’d been upended. It’s a total whizz to put together too- the sort of dish that takes the plainest of ingredients and really makes them sing.
Make up a batch today, then pat yourself on the back every lunchtime for the rest of the week as you shun ordinary, boring old sandwiches and instead sit down to a dish of the most revitalising and satisfyingly toothsome of salads around.
Makes 3/4 lunch portions, or 2 large dinner portions.
1 crisp apple (Royal Gala works well)
2 handfuls almonds
1 handful pine nuts
2tsp Dijon mustard
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 tbsp cider vinegar
1 generous pinch of Maldon salt
- Cut the broccoli and cauliflower up into florets (we’ll slice them smaller once they’re roasted), and arrange on a roasting tray. Place into an oven preheated to 180 degrees celsius to cook for 15 minutes, until they’re very lightly browned in places and smelling nutty and fantastic.
- Slice the apple into chunks, roughly chop the almonds, and toast off the pinenuts in a dry pan until lightly golden. Chop up the roasted broccoli and cauliflower into bitesize pieces, then combine all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
- In a jam jar, add in the mustard, oil, and vinegar and seal the lid tightly. Shake until creamy and amalgamated, then season with salt to taste. The vinaigrette should be tart and strong, since it’ll mellow when used to dress the salad.
- Pour the vinaigrette over the salad, and use your hands to massage together. Serve right away, or portion up and save for a few days of glorious lunches.