Add summer salad to your braaivleis and sunny skies

Louise Liebenberg

SUMMER is the perfect time to serve salads, especially after the Christmas excesses, and today we share three quick and easy recipes for some of my favourites.

Each of the recipes is very distinct and rather different to the usual South African salads.

Because of the protein that the fish provides, my salmon and caperberry salad with creme fraiche and dill can easily be a light lunch in its own right. You could even plate it individually as a starter.

The second recipe – for orange, red onion and olive salad – is a Spanish favourite of my husband, Salvelio’s.

It goes especially well with a rich main course like pork as the acidity of the citrus balances the richness beautifully.

The third recipe – for baby gem lettuce with garlic and smoked paprika-infused olive oil – is strictly for garlic lovers!

I was taught how to make it by my brother-in-law, Stephanus, who lives in the Spanish city of Cordoba, where this dish is popular.

The hot oil, smoked paprika and pungent garlic transforms the humble baby gem into so much more – it almost tastes more like a vegetable when done in this way.

I love the different variations of green you get when you slice open a baby gem lettuce. Add to that vividness the intensely coloured, smoky garlic and Spanish paprika dressing and it becomes elevated to a great side dish or even a tapa.


Salmon and caper berry salad with creme fraiche and dill

Ingredients

Half a pre-pack of washed butter lettuce leaves

100g smoked salmon ribbons (you can also use smoked rainbow trout)

Few Tbsp creme fraiche

8 to 10 caperberries (you can also use regular capers)

Fresh dill

Olive oil

Freshly squeezed lemon juice

Lemon wedges

Olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

Spread the butter lettuce leaves out on a platter. Drape over bits of salmon.

Using a teaspoon, dot small amounts of creme fraiche all around the salad.

Strategically place the caper berries.

Scatter dill over (can also be chopped)

Cut the lemons in wedges and arrange around the salad.

Give it a light spritz with fresh lemon juice (not too much as the creme fraiche and caperberries are already quite acidic).

Drizzle with olive oil, season to taste and serve.


Orange, red onion and olive salad

Ingredients

6 oranges, peeled, sliced into thinnish rounds and pips removed

½ red onion, sliced into thin rings

Black olives, many as you want

Fresh chopped flat-leaf parsley

Salt eg Falk (the smoked one is very nice with this)

Good olive oil for drizzling

Sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar (tiny splash)

Small blocks of feta – about two wheels

Method

Arrange orange rounds on a platter, decorate with olives and onion rings, season, drizzle with olive oil and sherry vinegar, sprinkle with parsley and feta and serve.


Baby gem lettuce with garlic and smoked paprika olive oil

Ingredients

One pack of baby gem lettuce (about three)

Salt

Sherry or white wine vinegar to taste

About ¼ cup olive oil

3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika (don’t be tempted to use anything else)

Method

Carefully quarter the baby gems into neat, intact wedges. Arrange on a serving platter. Drizzle with vinegar.

Heat the olive oil, add chopped garlic and cook until garlic is soft but not brown (it must have lost its sharp burn, but don’t allow it to brown or it will go bitter).

The second the garlic is cooked add the smoked paprika or “pimenton” and switch off the heat, stirring in with a wooden spoon until integrated.

Pour the hot over the lettuce wedges, getting it into all the creases of the lettuce.

Season and serve immediately – this is one salad you don’t want to leave standing.

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