Summer salads and dressings

Salads enable us to provide substantial meals in the summer months without spending too much time in a hot kitchen.

Make use of the large variety of leaves in the market to add balance and add different textures and flavours.

Sweetcorn and Tuna Salad

Tuna sweetcorn salad 2

You will need:
150g lamb’s lettuce
300g sweet corn
300g tuna
1 sweet potato
2 mature peppered ġbejna
100g black turtle beans
4 tbsp cooked rice
1 tbsp fresh coriander

For the dressing:
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
2 tbsp plain yoghurt
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp organic apple vinegar
1 tsp honey or agave
1 tbsp smoked paprika
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
To finish off some finely grated lime zest

summer salads and dressings

The combination of sweet corn and tuna is a classic salad choice and the addition of sweet potato, coriander and lime make it more interesting and satisfying.

To cook the sweet potato

Clean the sweet potato under running water using a vegetable scrubber. Pierce the potato with a fork, about four times. This will prevent the potato from exploding in the microwave, turning it over after the first three minutes. Smaller potatoes will take less time, while larger potatoes will take longer.

To cook black turtle beans

Soak the beans overnight. Drain the soaking water, place in a saucepan and add around 350ml of cold water. Bring to boil. To speed the cooking process, add a pinch of bicarbonate of soda. Reduce heat to a slow simmer until they soften enough, making sure they do not overcook to retain their shape and texture.

Top with more water if necessary. When they are cooked, drain the beans and cool before adding to the salad.

Grate the ġbejna, place in a bowl and keep aside.

Drain the oil or brine from the tuna. Place the tuna, sweet corn, chopped tomatoes, lamb’s lettuce, black turtle beans and sweet potato in a large bowl. Add the grated ġbejna and cooked rice.

Chop the fresh coriander and add to the salad.

Prepare the dressing by adding all the ingredients in a bowl. Use a small whisk to stir the mixture.

Pour the dressing on top of the salad mixture and allow to sit in the fridge for an hour before serving.

For more interesting textures and flavours, try the salad by using a variety of sweet corn. Mix equal amounts of canned sweet corn with chopped baby sweet corn and fresh corn off the cob.

Watermelon mosaic salad

watermelon salad.jpg

You will need:
¼ a regular sized watermelon, peeled and deseeded
½ a seasonal melon, peeled and cleaned
Juice of ¼ lime
¼ tsp grated lime zest
1 tsp honey

This is the perfect month to make watermelon salads when they are at the peak of their season and flavour. I often make mosaic salads and also use cucumber, avocado, tomatoes, beetroot or indeed yellow watermelon, depending on what is available in the market.

Cut in equal sizes, about 1/2-inch thick square shapes of watermelon and melon. Arrange alternate colours in a checkerboard style on a serving tray or plate individually.

Mix the lemon juice and honey. Drizzle over the melon. Refrigerate for half an hour and serve with fresh, soft ġbejna. Drizzle more honey over the ġbejna and garnish with mint leaves. Lightly sprinkle some lime zest and serve.

Using seedless watermelon for this salad will speed up the prep time considerably.

Not a classic Chicken Caesar Salad

chicken salad c.jpg

You will need:
2 slices Maltese bread
1 chicken breast
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
100g Maltese sausage meat
2 hard-boiled eggs
1 romaine lettuce
½ red leaf lettuce
1 avocado
50g mature ġbejna

For the dressing:
3 tbsp yoghurt
A pinch of garlic powder
1 tbsp mayonnaise
½ tsp anchovy paste
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
A pinch of stevia

I made this salad on TV last week and used local ġbejna and sausage, instead of the traditional Parmiggiano and pancetta. The combination of these flavours is amazing.

Make your own croutons by cutting the bread into small cubes. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Toss the bread in a tablespoon of olive oil, salt and pepper and place on an ovenproof dish lined with baking paper. Bake for around 8 to 10 minutes and toss after 5 minutes. Allow to cool and keep aside.

Brush the chicken breast with olive oil. Sprinkle smoked paprika on it. Use the brush to spread it evenly. Place on an ovenproof dish covered with baking paper. Place in a preheated oven at 200°C and cook for 25 minutes turning over after 15 minutes. Allow to cool, then cut it diagonally at an angle.

Cook the Maltese sausage meat in the microwave for about four minutes. If you have a sausage, rather than sausage meat, remove the casing and break up with a fork. Toss and return to microwave for two more minutes, if you like a crispy texture.

Peel and slice the avocado and grate the ġbejna.

Prepare the dressing by mixing all the ingredients and use a small whisk to beat and until it has a smooth texture.

Assemble the salad. Use your hands to gently toss the lettuce. Add the chopped parsley. Arrange the other ingredients on top, finish off with the croutons and then pour over the dressing just before serving.

Stale bread is always best for making croutons. For rustic croutons, roughly tear bite-size pieces from the loaf of bread and follow the same process.

 

I use tuna by Redelmar and salad dressings and sauces by Kuhne available at Quality Foods Marketing 

Kitchenware by Bristow Potteries

 

 

 

 

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