When I think of salads, they’ve come a long way over the years.
I remember as a little girl, my mum giving us ‘cold meat & salad’ on a fairly regular basis throughout the summer. That was left over roast with lettuce, tomato and cucumber. If we were lucky there would be some boiled new potatoes, or even fried re-heated ones (they were good, we all liked them!). There was always a choice of homemade chutney, mayonnaise and salad cream to have with it.
The menu changed from time to time, sometimes there was sweetcorn or hard boiled egg added. If there were new carrots ready in the garden, there would be a bowl of them in the middle of the table for us to help ourselves.
Red pepper also was introduced, and much later avocado pear, which tended to be served to adults at a dinner party as they were special. It took me a long time to appreciate the texture of avocado, normally it was served with prawn marie rose where the stone had been or just with French dressing. My mum even had special avocado shaped dishes to serve them in. (She probably still has them.)
Moving on to the restaurant years and I remember there was always a selection of salads put on the plate. There was always coleslaw and potato salad, often pasta salad and sometimes Waldorf salad, made with apple, celery, grapes and walnuts at the side of the plate. All had a generous amount of mayonnaise mixed through them to make them tasty! Lettuce and tomato took up a small corner and usually came back to the kitchen uneaten.
Salads like the ones above are still available in establishments up and down the country (I can spot catering coleslaw from 50 paces), but trends are moving on and certainly for me, the days of mayonnaise slathered salad is a thing of the past.
I usually have a range of ingredients in the fridge, lettuce (romaine or gem), tomato, cucumber, avocado, radish, fennel along with some tasty leaves, rocket or watercress which I mix together and use as a base, adding bits and pieces, depending on what else I have.
Here are 6 easy, quick, delicious salads that I have made this year so far. They can be used as a stand alone meal or as an accompaniment to a larger feast. Some use my lettuce base, others don’t use any and none go anywhere near mayonnaise or salad cream!