As you’ve probably gathered from previous recipes, I love making salads that are either a meal in themselves or are a substantial part of a meal where you serve it with something barbecued – meat, chicken or fish. I made this week’s grilled vegetable salad with pistachio dressing by combining parts of 2 recipes from Damien Pignolet’s ‘Salades’ published last year. It’s a great book to remind you about the classic salads as well as having lots of new ideas. What I particularly like about this recipe is that’s a great combination of both cooked and raw vegetables. Our stallholder Dragon’s bright purple long aubergines and his sweet red and light green peppers are really good to use for this.
- 4-6 small long aubergines – slice in half lengthwise (the number of aubergines will depend on how big they are)
- 4-6 small courgettes – also slice in half lengthwise – into thirds if they are larger
- 2-4 red and/or light green sweet peppers – deseeded and halved
Brush all the vegetables with olive oil and grill on the BBQ.
While the veges are grilling cut 3-4 tomatoes into chunks and thinly slice a red onion. Also toast a good handful of pistchio nuts.
Using a mortar and pestle or food processor, grind together about half the pistachios and 2 tsps of toasted coriander seeds. Then add a finely chopped clove a garlic, a finely chopped fresh red chilli (adjust the quantity to your taste), salt and pepper. Pound all together and then add at least 100ml of extra virgin olive oil and 20ml or good quality red wine vinegar. You’ll probably find you need more oil and vinegar than this. The dressing needs to taste slightly acidic.
To assemble the salad
Depending on the size of the vege pieces you may need to cut some in half. If you use Dragon’s peppers they won’t need peeling because the skins are very thin but others may need peeling. Gently combine all the grilled and raw veges in a bowl or on a platter. Include some baby spinach leaves or rocket and the rest of the toasted pistachios. Mix through the dressing. It’s best to do this with your hands. Top with a few freshly torn basil leaves.
If you’re having this as a salad by itself you could add a few slices of fresh mozzarella to the top before adding the basil along with an extra drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Serve with crusty bread.