The Perfect Accompaniment: your summer salads sorted

It’s the time of year where invites to BBQs, family lunches or picnics with friends are flying around. When you ask, “what should i bring?” the answer is more often than not “bring a salad”. If you are still looking for your signature salad or would like to to change up your usual contribution then we have 3 of Matt Moran’s best options for you to try out. These can all be made in just 3 easy steps and they will be sure to impress.

First up a quick and simple Tomato Salad


Tomato Salad with Quick-pickled Onions and Basil Dressing

Serves 4| Preparation Time 15 minutes, plus 3 hours chilling

  • 1 large handful basil leaves, plus extra
    to serve
  • ½ small garlic clove
  • 80 ml (2½ fl oz/⅓ cup) extra-virgin olive oil
  • Juice of ½ lemon, or to taste
  • 4 large heirloom tomatoes, thickly sliced or cut into wedges
  • 200 g (7 oz) mixed cherry tomatoes, halved or thickly sliced

Quick-pickled onion

  • 1 small red onion, sliced into 3 mm  (⅛ inch) thick rounds
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and halved
  • 1 small red chilli, split in half
  • 185 ml (6 fl oz/¾ cup) white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon caster (superfine) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon coarsely cracked
  • black peppercorns

METHOD

  1. To make the quick-pickled onion, separate the onion slices into rings, place in a sieve over the sink and slowly pour over hot water from a just-boiled kettle to blanch. Drain well, then place in a sterilised glass jar along with the garlic and chilli. Stir the vinegar, sugar, salt and peppercorns in a jug to dissolve, pour over the onions to cover completely, then seal and refrigerate for at least 3 hours and up to 2 weeks.
  2. Combine the basil, garlic and a good pinch of sea salt in a mortar and pestle and pound to a rough paste. Add the olive oil and lemon juice to taste, pound to combine, then season to taste.
  3. Arrange the tomatoes on a platter and scatter with some extra basil leaves. Drain some of the quick-pickled onion and scatter over the tomatoes, then drizzle with the basil dressing.

 

For those that enjoy something a bit fruity this Watermelon salad is a winner.


WATERMELON AND POMEGRANATE SALAD WITH WHIPPED FETA

Serves 4| Preparation Time 20 minutes

  • 1 kg (2 lb 4 oz) seedless watermelon, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 40 g (1½ oz/¼ cup) toasted almonds, coarsely chopped
  • Seeds from ½ pomegranate
  • 1 small French shallot, thinly sliced
  • 35 g (1¼ oz/1 cup) wild rocket (arugula)
  • 1 large handful mint leaves
  • 2½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • Finely grated zest and juice of ½ lemon, or to taste
  • ½ small garlic clove, finely chopped
  • Sumac, for dusting

Whipped feta

  • 150 g (5½ oz) feta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Finely grated zest and juice of ½ lemon
  • ½ small garlic clove

METHOD

  1. To make the whipped feta, blend the ingredients in a blender or small food processor until smooth, season to taste and spread over a serving platter.
  2. Arrange the watermelon over the whipped feta and scatter with the almonds, pomegranate and shallot, then with the rocket and mint leaves.
  3. Whisk the olive oil, vinegar, lemon zest, juice and garlic in a bowl to combine, season to taste and drizzle over the salad. Scatter with sumac and serve.

 

Finally we have an old favourite done right.


KILLER POTATO SALAD

Serves 4| Preparation Time 15 minutes |Cooking Time 20 Minutes

  • 600 g (1 lb 5 oz) scrubbed Kipfler or other salad potatoes, larger ones thickly sliced, smaller ones halved
  • 2 small French shallots, thinly sliced
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • 110 ml (3½ fl oz) olive oil
  • 6 rindless streaky bacon rashers or slices of speck
  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 handful coarsely chopped flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
  • 1 small handful coarsely chopped dill
  • 1 small handful chives, finely chopped
METHOD
  1. Combine the potatoes in a saucepan with plenty of cold salted water to cover generously. Bring to the boil over a medium–high heat and cook for 15–20 minutes until the potatoes feel tender when you pierce them with the tip of a sharp knife. Drain and return to the saucepan to steam, adding the sliced shallots so the heat from the potatoes softens them slightly.
  2. Cook the eggs in a separate saucepan of boiling water for 7 minutes (this is for soft yolks – if you prefer your eggs firmer, cook for another minute or two). Drain, refresh under cold running water and peel.
  3. While the potatoes are cooking, make the dressing. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium–high heat. Cut the bacon or speck into 5 cm (2 inch) lengths, add to the pan and fry, turning occasionally, for 2–3 minutes until crisp, then transfer to a tray, keeping the fat in the pan.
  4. Return the pan to the heat, add the garlic and remaining oil and stir for about 30 seconds until the garlic is fragrant.
  5. Remove from the heat, add the lemon juice, vinegar and mustard, season to taste and whisk to combine. Taste to check the acidity – you might want to add a squeeze more lemon, remembering the acidity will mellow once you’ve dressed the potatoes. When you’re happy with the balance, add the dressing to the potatoes, toss to combine and set aside to cool to room temperature.
  6. To serve, add the bacon and eggs to the potato mixture along with the herbs, toss to combine and serve at room temperature.

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