500 Salads by Susannah Blake – review

Well, who would think there were so many? Thus speaketh a child of the 1950s. The era when salad, if you ever saw one, was not a composed salad but a collection of dishes containing salad components which were only ever tomatoes, lettuce, cucumber dressed with malt vinegar, and a grated carrot, all enlivened with salad cream. We have choices these days.

cookbook review 500 salads 500 Salads offers, yes, obviously 500 salads but they cover the whole spectrum of style and ethnic diversity. Every culture, except perhaps Inuit, has salad vegetables. We have all treated them in different fashions and have anointed them with a variety of dressings but the core ethos has been the same: mostly raw fruit and vegetables prepared quickly giving a healthy and delicious result.

These days we can enjoy side salads as well as main-meal salads. Some take advantage of exotic produce and others might have a sprinkle of a spicy dressing. There are purely vegetarian salads and those that have vegetables garnished with meat or fish. In short there is something for every taste and every budget.

This chunky and informative volume starts with classic salads and progresses through everything from pasta salads to Asian salads and fruit salads, and everything in between. The list of kitchen equipment is unsurprisingly short and then it’s on to eight salad dressings to get you started. My preferred traditional dressing is Honey-Mustard. It works well with anything from a simple mixed-leaf green salad to a more elaborate chicken salad.

Invented in Mexico

The most classic of Classic salads is the Caesar Salad which was invented in Mexico rather than in ancient Rome as the name might suggest. It has everything a good salad should have: texture, freshness and flavour. Truly delicious but simple.

Warm salads are welcome at any time of year. Warm Duck Salad with Honey-Orange Dressing is very smart. No, dear reader, the leaves are not heated. The warm element is provided by the topping of strips of stir-fried meat. Orange is always a good partner to duck but don’t swamp the rocket or you’ll have a soggy mess. The idea is to provide a tangy glaze to both meat and leaves.

Thai Salad with Squid, Pork and Chilli Dressing is outstanding. The squid and pork are stir-fried and flavoured with garlic, ginger and chilli with freshness coming in the guise of coriander and mint. Sesame oil adds a nutty note and balances the saltiness of the soy sauce. Traditional ingredients combining to make a striking, quick and easy lunch or supper. Serve with coconut rice as a main meal.

500 Salads is another in the popular series from Apple Press. A practical book for those who want to cook. Its small chubby format is appealing and the recipes seem always to work. Another winner.

500 Salads
Author: Susannah Blake
Published by: Apple Press
Price: £9.99
ISBN 978-1-84543-352-9


Cookbook review by Chrissie Walker © 2018


See more books by Susannah Blake here