Thursday, 12 March 2015

Two salads: Marinated Mozzarella & Tangy Cucumber

These beautiful and tastalicious salads are getting us ready for spring time, let alone summer BBQ's. I must confess I ate these for lunch and didn't even have a main (they are that good) but just imagine them next to a burger. Or a sausage. Or a lovely rib. Yes.

My main man Ottolenghi has helped me out again. This guy is a genius when it comes to good looking, colourful and just plain tasty vegetables. You may be wondering why the mozzarella is a little golden, and that's because it has been magically marinaded. Mozzarella is pretty great already, I know, but just try it. It's fennely.

The slightly less exciting but still seriously scrumptious cucumber concoction is my own. Having moved away from a slight pickling obsession, this allows me to eat tangy cucumber in a normal way, not out of the jar with a fork. Just saying, if you like pickles...

Step away from the sad pile of bagged leaves, the oven chips or the boring peas. These look cooler and more impressive. And they taste awesome. Big up the starters and the side salads.

1. Ottolenghi's Marinated Mozzarella & Tomato Salad 
Brilliant as a starter or a side

Quantities: Starter or side for 2-3
Kitchen Stuff: pestle & mortar (seed-crushing device), frying pan
Timing: 15 - 30 minutes (including marinating time)

1 buffalo mozzarella ball
4 ripe medium tomatoes (red, yellow or mixed) 


½ tsp fennel seeds
grated zest of 1 lemon
about 15 basil leaves, shredded
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to finish
2 tsp rapeseed oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
½ tsp sea salt (Maldon is best)
black pepper

1. MARINADE: To make the marinade. Scatter the fennel seeds in a small frying pan over medium heat and dry-roast until they begin to pop. Transfer to a pestle & mortar and crush roughly. Place the crushed seeds in a small bowl and add the remaining marinade ingredients. Mix together.
2. MOZZA: Break the mozzarella roughly with your hands. Smear it with the marinade and set aside for 15-30 minutes.
3.TOMS: To serve, cut the tomatoes into wedges and plate along with the marinated mozzarella. Drizzle with extra olive oil and serve.
2. Tangy Cucumber & Red Onion Salad

Quantities: 2-3 as a side
Kitchen Stuff: sharp knife
Timing: 5 minutes

1 large cucumber, halved and thinly sliced
1/2 red onion, very thinly sliced into inch 1/2- 1 inch slices

1 tbsp rapeseed oil
1 tbsp olive oil
juice of 1/4 lemon
2 tbsp cider vinegar
pinch of sea salt

1. OH SO EASY: Mix up your dressing, adjust to your taste. Combine your sliced cucumber and red onion in a bowl. Pour the dressing over the salad and thoroughly enjoy.