Think salads have to be bland and boring? These inspiring combinations from around the world will make you think again
Gone are the days when salads would barely touch the sides, better suited as a starter or a side.
Caesar, Cobb and Niçoise are far from the only options on offer, with many people getting far more ambitious with tastes, textures and flavours in a bid to keep healthy eating exciting and varied.
Around the World in Salads by Katie and Giancarlo Caldesi was inspired by Giancarlo’s diabetes and gluten-intolerance, but you don’t have to be keeping an eye on your health to enjoy these mouthwatering dishes. And just because the recipes – such as Vietnamese Roasted Duck with Five Spice Fruit Salad – seem extravagant, that doesn’t mean they’re a pain to put together. The 120 recipes packed in this book are simple, unique and tasty – we promise. The couple’s visits to the USA, Vietnam and Sri Lanka and reading blogs from around the world encouraged them to experiment with different ingredients. They’ve done the hard work for us!
And if you thought salads weren’t filling, you’ve been doing it wrong. ‘Too many times a salad is simply lettuce, chunks of cucumber and unripe tomatoes, either plain or served with a processed dressing,’ says Katie. ‘Real salad is far from this. It doesn’t have to be complicated and should always be a delight to eat.’ If you’re used to much denser meals, Katie recommends starting with small steps by introducing veg into every meal. Katie also suggests keeping a good bottle of extra virgin olive oil in your cupboard – ‘it makes everything taste delicious’ – and toasted almonds or garlicky breadcrumbs for texture.
Italian seafood salad
To enjoy this colourful and flavoursome salad at its best, make it the day before you want to eat it to allow the seafood to soak in the Mediterranean flavours. Serve with plenty of bread to mop up the dressing, or stir into rice.
500g white fish fillets, such as sea bass
500g mixed seafood, including peeled prawns, scallops and squid
½-1 red chilli, finely sliced, according to taste
A handful of green or black olives, halved and pitted
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2tbsp white wine vinegar
2tbsp lemon juice, plus extra to taste
150ml extra virgin olive oil
1 medium carrot, finely shredded
½ red pepper, thinly sliced into batons
4 large or 8 small sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced (optional)
1 celery stick, julienned
A few fresh oregano leaves or ½tsp
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Chopped flat-leaf parsley, to garnish
Crusty bread, to serve (optional)
1 Cook the fish fillets in lightly salted boiling water for two to four minutes until just cooked. Remove from the water with a fish slice and set aside to cool. Peel away the skin and roughly break up the flesh into bitesize pieces.
2 If not using prepared seafood, clean the squid and cut into 1cm pieces. Then cook the seafood in the same water for two to four minutes or until they are just cooked through. The prawns will turn pink when they are cooked. Drain and set aside.
3 Put all the remaining ingredients, except the parsley, in a bowl. Gently toss to combine, taking care not to break up the fish. Cover and marinate overnight in the fridge. The following day adjust the seasoning to taste with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Serve with parsley with some crusty bread. The salad will keep in a lidded airtight container for up to three days in the fridge.