As a follow up for my previous post, here is a fresh yet hearty salad I’ve perfected recently. The initial inspiration for this recipe came from a similar salad at a local cafe Ciao Thyme. This is the closest answer Balmain has to the amazing Ottolenghi cafes (London, I miss you!). Yotam himself has a hand in this by introducing barberries into my pantry: these little Persian jewels look like ruby currants and have a wonderful burst of sourness that complements many dishes. I found mine at the local Essential Ingredient, but if you can’t get hold of them Ottolenghi suggests soaking currants in lemon juice as an alternative.
The base of this salad is fresh fresh fresh. Chunks of seasonal cucumber mixed with piles of mixed herbs then punctuated with crunchy pistachios and sweet and sour berries. This alone, with a simple lemon dressing, is sure to wake up your tastebuds!
Then you layer the real heart of the salad, which turns it into something new again. Flakes of delicate hot smoked trout, and those Perfect Salad Eggs. The smokiness and richness fleshes the whole dish out — with a bit of bread you’ve got lunch sorted. Or throw it into the middle of the table as part of a dinner party feast, your guests haven’t tried anything quite like it before!
- For the base:
- 1 large cucumber
- 6 spring onions
- 1 medium bunch parsley, roughly chopped
- 1 small bunch mint, roughly chopped
- 1 small handful dill, torn
- ¼ cup pistachios, lightly crushed
- 2-3 tablespoons currants
- 2-3 tablespoons barberries
- For topping:
- 100g hot smoked trout
- 4 eggs
- black pepper
- For the dressing:
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice (half a lemon will suffice)
- a good pinch of salt
- Start the eggs first so they will be ready for topping later. Bring a small saucepan of water to a very gentle boil then add the eggs slowly (to avoid cracking the shells). Assuming the eggs are cold from the fridge they should be simmered for 7 minutes then drained and immediately added to a bowl of room temperature water to cool for later handling.
- Halve the cucumber lengthwise then scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Dice into 1cm cubes.
- Clean the spring onions and slice, on an angle, into 2mm thick pieces.
- Add the cucumber, spring onion, roughly chopped herbs, pistachios, currants and barberries to a mixing bowl.
- Prepare the dressing by whisking together the olive oil, lemon juice and salt in a small bowl, then dress the base salad. Add extra seasoning at this point if desired.
- Move the dressed salad to a serving bowl then top with trout by flaking into small pieces with your fingers.
- Peel and halve the eggs and spread them over the salad. Garnish with a little extra dill and freshly ground black pepper, then serve immediately!