Life is all about balance. I get that. So in lieu of yesterdays gluttonous gorge by the way of sublime strawberry shortcakes, I figure today’s eating pleasures must be that much more ‘responsible’ in nature and centre around a more health conscious approach. I am in the need of Zen, some cleansing calmness, some sort of goodness that can only be achieved by the way of food. However, do not be fooled into thinking this means I will surrender my need for taste satisfaction, no. It simply means I will steer clear of the baking and sweets realm (for today...one day at a time) and head to the blissfully angelic fruit and vegetable arena instead.
With spring in the air, I could not walk past the array of beautiful, fragrant herbs on display at the fruit store without picking up bunches of mint, basil, chives and parsley. Herbs are so wonderful, they add instant freshness, flavour and fragrance to whatever you’re cooking and easily take an everyday salad from drab to fab with little to no effort at all. With my herbs in tow I knew I would only require a couple more ingredients as my mission today was to keep lunch as close to pure simplicity as possible. I spotted bright green broad beans and freshly shelled peas and was done, mission complete. Now off home to arrange these babies on a plate, toss them with a lemony fresh vinaigrette and finalise lunch with a final flourish of torn buffalo mozzarella balls.
I have to admit I had an instant sense of smugness the moment I witnessed the spectacle of fresh herbs, peas and beans nestled on my chopping board. It was the perfect picture of health and all things delicious. And I knew I had started my good deed for the day. The only embellishment this salad required was a simple vinaigrette made up of extra virgin olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon juice and a little sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. The final plate looked so beautiful, and with my bread grilled and rubbed with garlic I had the perfect vessel to demolish it with.
Another wonderful feature of this salad is its versatility. As I did today, it can easily be turned into a hearty bruschetta to make for a delicious lunch. It would also make the perfect accompaniment to spaghetti, simply cook the spaghetti, drain, toss the salad through and finalise the dish with a good lashing of extra virgin olive oil and dinner is done. Simple. Just the way cooking should be. Enjoy K X
Buffalo Mozzarella Spring Salad
Adapted from Gourmet Traveller September 2011 issue
200 gm podded peas (350gm unpodded)
400 gm podded broad beans (800gm unpodded)
Finelygrated rind and juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
½ cup(firmly packed) each basil, mint and flat-leaf parlsey
½ bunch chives, coarsely chopped
8 buffalo mozzarella, coarsely torn
To serve: crusty bread
Blanch peas until bright green (1-2 minutes), refresh, drain and set aside.
Blanch broad beans until bright green (2-3 minutes), refresh, drain, peel and set aside
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, season to taste, toss to combine, drizzle with extra olive oil and serve with crusty bread.