Christmas treats, New Year's treats … January is nearly over so it’s sorta time to get things back on track. Welcome salad! But tanked up salad with all the trimmings including fried, salted croutons …
2 red peppers (bell peppers/capsicum)
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp lemon juice (juice of about 1 nice squidgy lemon)
1 small red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
100g (about 3 ounces) sugar snaps
8 black olives (Crespo olives are a winner here!)
2 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 big iceberg lettuce leaves
100g (about 4 ounces) baby salad mix
100g (3-4 ounces) canned tuna, drained
1 avocado, sliced and cubed into small chunks
3 medium slices of fresh sourdough or grainy bread
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 We want to char-grill these peppers so have a look HERE to do it. We want them delightfully blackened! Once they’ve cooled, remove skin, core and seeds, and slice into thin strips of tasty goodness.
2 For the croutons, heat 2 tablespoons oil over a medium-low heat in a medium-sized frying pan. Slice the pieces of bread into chunky 2cm (¾“) cubes and add to the pan with a generous sprinkle of salt. Fry the bread for around 3 or 4 minutes, until crispy. These crunchy morsels are addictive so while it’s best not to get involved and snack on them, I also highly advise it… they’re too tempting, and delicious. And life is too short. Fried salted bread. WHY NOT.
3 When bread is adequately crispened, (not sure if that is even a word!), scatter on to a plate lined with paper towels and set aside for later.
4 In the same frying pan, heat 3 tablespoons oil over a low heat and add the lemon zest, crushed garlic, and chopped chilli and gently sizzle for about 20 seconds only! You want to infuse the oil rather than fry the ingredients so keep a watchful eye as the garlic will burn pretty quickly. Turn heat off and transfer to a large bowl and set aside. (The zest, garlic and chilli will continue sizzling in the bowl from the oil’s residual heat so don’t over do it!)
5 If there are any spooky ends on the sugar snaps, chop them off along with any stringy bits. Bring a small pot of water to the boil and plunge sugar snaps into the bubbling water and cook for 2 minutes. Drain in a colander and refresh with cold running water until they feel cool. This stops them cooking further and turning into lifeless floppy blobs and locks in their green colour. Drain again and dry on paper towels.
6 If the olives aren’t already pitted, then pit them, and chop them into little pieces. Add to the large bowl along with the lemon juice, salt and freshly ground pepper. Mix it up.
7 Wash and dry iceberg leaves and break into small pieces. Add them, the baby salad mix, tuna, avocado, sugar snaps, and sliced pepper to the large bowl and toss. Check seasoning and serve with the croutons on the side.
8 Feast immediately!