We all need a sign about this time of year, that the winter is coming to an end. This salad is perfect and completely delicious way to give a bit of a ping to the winter diet of stews, roots and comfort food and signal the shift toward raw, clean and zingy food again. We may not be quite ready to shed all ideas of hot soup, duvet days and jam roly poly, but add this to a dinner of baked potato with lashings of butter and creme fraiche and you are half way there.
Raw cauliflower end of winter salad
2 garlic cloves, peeled and *smushed
60ml white-wine vinegar
90ml olive oil
1 or 2 head little gem lettuce, whole leaves or torn up if large leaves
1 bulb red (or white) chicory, sliced across OR 1 head radicchio, torn leaves
1/2 cauliflower, divided into florets and cut into 3mm-thick slices
1/2 cucumber, cut into chunks
200g radishes, cut into slices about the width of two pound coins put together
120g dry wrinkly black olives, pitted
3-4 spring onions thinly sliced diagonally OR 1 small red onion thinly sliced
small handful of flat leaf parsley, picked
In a small bowl, make the dressing, then stir in three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt and some black pepper. Toss the salad ingredients in a large mixing bowl, add the dressing, toss again gently, taste for seasoning and serve.
Add some crumbled feta, radish sprouts or toasted seeds.
Swap watercress for lettuce
Add a bit of sliced apple for sweetness
How to smush garlic.
Put the flat of the knife hard down onto the garlic bulb until the paper skin cracks and then peel it off. Cut off the hard end and slice and dice as finely as you possibly can.
Take a pinch of sea salt, Maldon best, and add it to the garlic. Using the flat blade of the knife again squash the salt into the garlic, pulling the knife toward you while pushing down on the blade. The salt helps release the juices in the garlic and the course sharp edges of the salt also helping to break it down. Needless to say the blade becomes slippery so be careful!