Category Archives for Salads

Marinated Artichoke Salad With Green Beans And Mushrooms

A marinated artichoke salad with crunchy green beans and sauteed portobello mushrooms. Dressed with a piquant pumpkin seed, shallot, and balsamic dressing.

Marinated Artichoke Salad

Do you like artichokes?

The nobbly Jerusalem variety are delicious and make a tasty soup or work great as a vegetable in their own right either boiled, roasted or pureed.

It’s the globe artichoke that up until very recently I was never really the biggest fan of. Once cooked they taste fine, it’s just that their a complete pain to prepare. Pulling off all the tough outer leaves, before scooping out the tightly packed fluffy centre, then trimming down the hard base. It’s an awful lot of work that seems to take forever.

All this has got to be done at speed, you’ve got to get your artichokes into acidulated water or else like an apple or a banana they’ll oxidize and turn black right before your very eyes.

And you’re not finished yet….Once you’ve done all this, it’s time to squeeze another couple of lemons for the juice to cook the artichokes in. I’ll often use so many lemons in my effort to keep my artichokes as white as possible that they’ll end up tasting just a little pickled.

A while back I rediscovered the joys of artichokes in a jar where all this fiddly work is done for you. The particular ones I bought were actually baby globe artichokes which are smaller, sweeter, and more tender than the bigger variety. As an added bonus they  came pre-marinated in some olive oil, a little garlic, and basil. I’ve got to admit…..they taste great.

marinated artichokes

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Fish Caesar Salad

fish caesar salad
Crispy fillets of fried plaice, with crunchy little gem lettuce, tossed in a piquant caper and dill dressing.

Why is it that when you go out to a restaurant for dinner and see a caesar salad on the menu it often comes with chicken? Don’t get me wrong I like a bit of chicken in my caesar salad but seafood like shrimp, salmon, cod or even place like I’m using here work well with crunchy leaves, croutons, and aged parmesan cheese too.

The original caesar salad contains neither chicken or fish of course. It was invented by a guy called Caesar Cardini in the 1920’s. Caesar was an Italian immigrant who had restaurants in Mexico and the United States. One 4th of July his restaurant got slammed and he whipped up this dish out of what he had lying around the kitchen. I only wish I could invent a classic under such pressure.

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Warm Mackerel salad with cucumber and hoisin

warm mackerel salad

Grilled marinated mackerel with crunchy cucumbers, spring onions, and water chestnuts served with a spicy hoisin dressing.

I gave up ordering food from Chinese take aways a good few years back. Thier use of msg as a flavour enhancer eventually turned me off them, it just makes everything taste the same. I reckon that if you did a blind taste test, closed your eyes, and tasted the sauces they make you wouldn’t be able to tell a black bean from a satay sauce

Like everything there are exceptions and i still pick up the phone to have the classic crispy duck with pancakes and plum sauce sent up to the house. I think its the textures that I like most about the dish. Crispy duck and vegetables smothered with the piquant plum sauce all wrapped up in soft pancakes.

Its not often that I could say that the local chinese takeout served as an inspiration for a dish but Its definitely the case with this salad. The cucumbers and spring onions that you wrap the pancakes around work really well with fish, but for some extra crunch I’ve added some bean sprouts, water chestnuts, and sesame seeds.

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Smoked Trout And Horseradish cocktail

Delicate flakes of smoked trout with young spinach smothered in a creamy, pungent horseradish mayo.

smoked trout and horseradish cocktail

Give me a bowl of crispy roast potatoes and a jar of horseradish sauce and I’d be a happy man. As a kid sunday lunch meant one thing to me… horseradish sauce time! Never mind the fact that it wasn’t beef I’d be eating, it didn’t matter if it was chicken, lamb, or pork for lunch, if there were roast potatoes than I would be looking for the horseradish sauce.

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Avocado, Prawn, And Citrus Salad

Sweet Dublin bay prawns with creamy avocado and tangy citrus fruits, tossed in a caramelized ginger dressing

avocado, prawn, and citrus salad

Salads are supposed to be good for you. Light, healthy, and nutritious but only up to a point. That point being when you reach for your favourite dressing, be it caesar, mayo, or salad cream. But whats a salad without a dressing? The dressing is what makes a salad tick and brings all the flavours, textures, and tastes together.

This salad is no different. It’s all about the dressing. Caramelized spicy ginger with sweet honey and slightly tart raspberry vinegar all whisked together in extra virgin olive oil. It’s a dressing you can use on any salad, and it happens to work really well with duck but  maybe I shouldn’t have said that seen as this is a seafood blog and all.

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