I really should call this Christmas Pudding Salad because everything apart from the chard and the olive oil was to hand because I was making Christmas pudding.
This salad breaks a couple of rules because firstly it uses allspice, which doesn’t normally get used in savoury dishes in this country (I think it gets used with lamb in Finland) and secondly because you’re not supposed to let green leaves sit in a salad dressing because they go wilted and nasty. Chard, however, has leaves robust enough to actually need sitting in the dressing for a bit – think coleslaw. If you don’t have chard to hand, kale would be excellent and even green cabbage would do. I do like the chard though, I used rainbow chard and its jewel-like colours shine out in this simple dish.
2 tbsp flaked almonds
1/4 tsp allspice
2 tbsp olive oil
Finely shred the chard leaves and stalks and place in a large bowl.
Segment half the orange and add the segments to the chard.
Juice the rest of the orange and reserve.
Sprinkle the almonds over the chard and orange segments.
Add the allspice and olive oil to the orange juice, mix thoroughly and season with salt and pepper.
Mix the dressing with the chard.
Leave to stand for about 15 minutes before serving.
Serves 2 as a main salad.
Yes, you read that right – the sauce is definitely the star with this recipe!
For what is a simple recipe, this has a bit of complicated origin for me. It all started with a review of Drakes Tabanco by Jay Rayner in The Observer. In it he wished that the restaurant had paired a dish of romesco sauce with something more thrilling than tenderstem broccoli. Well, I disagree. Romesco sauce packs a hefty punch and I think something green and irony is just what is needed to stand up to it. Tenderstem broccoli does just the thing. Broccoli of any type would do, but so would kale, savoy cabbage or spinach. Blanch the greens, stir through the romesco and you have a dish that should be thrilling enough for anyone. I’m sorry, Jay, but we’re not letting the meat-eaters keep this sauce to themselves.
And besides – look how pretty it looks! Prettier than any meat you could pair with this.
For the sauce:
2 red peppers, grilled and skinned
75g ground almonds
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tbsp vinegar
80ml olive oil
squeeze lemon juice
Pack of tender-stem broccoli
Put the peppers under a hot grill until their skin is blackened on both sides.
Remove the skins and seeds.
Put the pepper flesh with the rest of the sauce ingredients into a food processor and whizz until you have a smooth paste.
Season with salt and pepper.
Cook the broccoli in plenty of salted water until just tender.
Drain the broccoli and serve with the sauce spooned over.
Serves 4 as a starter