Salad days are here and I can’t help but tingle with excitement as I walk out into the garden to see what little delicacies I can harvest. This is fast ‘food to table’ eating, it is a little ad hoc and edgy, forget the recipe book, it is just what looks good and takes my fancy, a handful of leaves here, a few beetroot there, etc etc, I’m sure you get the gist. Our little vegetable patch is just beginning to bloom though it is streets behind the rest of England, or so it seems. A combination of water logged ground and a rather cold valley pocket means everything has taken a good month longer to get started. That said, the asparagus has now been devoured and left to do its’ thing, the potatoes are just about legal to be eaten, there are plenty of salad leaves, the carrots and beetroot are coming on and the radishes are in their prime, the artichokes are triumphant, the broad beans and peas are a little on the small side, the strawberries have been nailed by mice, the raspberries are having a ball and we have buckets of fresh mint and herbs in general. There’s a lot going on. The ‘little people’ adore it, crawling round the fruit cage picking and gobbling raspberries I can’t reach, digging up potatoes and then eating them smugly gloating that they planted them, which they did! It’s a rare treat and nothing gives me more pleasure than eating from our own plot, and golly it tastes good!
Of course I supplement, we are still a long way from becoming self sufficient, so I use the wonderful ‘Riverford Organics’ to top up the fruit and vegetable store. Every tuesday a box arrives and I peep inside with trepidation as to what delights are waiting. It’s rather fun from my point of view largely because of the diversity, there are unquestionably vegetables I would not normally buy, but being a shrewd cook would never waste, so every thing gets used, however challenging I find it. This time of year it is full of color and flavor with the odd random vegetable I would not even dream of growing, hello Mr.Kohlrabi! And random is exactly what this post is about, at least it is what the salad I made is all about, the salad that I fortuitously threw together earlier in the week and have been salivating over ever since!
I love strawberries but have always been a little hesitant using them out of context. Of course I have eaten them in salads before and not even reluctantly, but I have never been a strong advocate of flinging them with the green stuff, that was until yesterday. It was a little like ‘old mother hubbard’. I went to the cupboard which was not quite bare, but it was pretty spartan with a rather odd array of food, and this is what I ended up with: ‘Avocado, strawberry, ricotta, mint and pistachio salad with white balsamic dressing’! It was sensational. It just danced with color, taste and summer and was really just very good, so good that I got annoyed that I had been so greedy and polished it off quite so speedily. This salad is a doddle to put together, relatively cheap, healthy, light, and with no cooking involved, what’s not to like? It’s my kind of food for steamy, summer days.
Strawberry, avocado, ricotta, mint salad with pistachios and white balsamic
Serves 1 for lunch
1 ripe avocado cut into slices
2 handfuls of washed garden mint leaves
1 handful of strawberries (the few the mice couldn’t reach)
Fresh ricotta or fresh goats cheese or feta (ideally use really good ricotta)
1 table spoon of chopped pistachios
Dressing: 1 dessert spoon of white balsamic whisked together with 3 dessert spoons of olive oil, salt and pepper
Put all the ingredients into a large bowl, toss together and drizzle over the dressing, season with extra salt and pepper.