The most refreshing salad, and a brief paean to truffle oil

April 24, 2011

Usually, I’m shit at making salads. It ought to be easy, it’s just a bunch of leaves and bits of healthy stuff, but somehow mine tend to turn out like the sort of thing you might create when you get to the office canteen salad bar at 3pm, when most of it has either run out or wilted tragically. This time though, I struck it lucky, having had something almost completely unlike it in a restaurant a while back, but finding myself thwarted in Tesco when I tried to get the ingredients to recreate it. This is what I actually ended up with.

Rocket
Peas
Mange tout
Celery
Beansprouts
Granny Smith apple
A little bit of truffle oil

Cook the peas and mange tout briefly and then plunge them into cold water (pref with ice but it’s not essential. You just want them to be cold and still crisp). Chop the celery and the apple into smallish bitey pieces and mix everything together by hand. Drizzle on the truffle oil and mix again just before serving. You don’t need much but that unique, impossibly smooth metallic aroma has the effect of pulling together the strong, diverse flavours of the apple, celery and rocket while at the same time somehow tempering them. It’s quite a lot like spring on a plate.

PS: I’m slightly obsessed with truffle oil at the moment. It’s pricey, but you need such a tiny amount to stamp its presence on a dish that I’ve had the same bottle for months. Today, a very wee dash went in the pan with a little butter for scrambled eggs, along with a grind or two of pepper and a pinch of sea salt, all scoffed indecently quickly with 2 buttered crumpets and a slice and a half of smoked salmon. Joy. Followed by guilt, and the gym. Whatever.

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