In the Summer we eat lighter and fresher. Gone are the hearty casseroles and rib-sticking pasta bakes, to be replaced by salads. Yeah, but it’s boring, I hear you cry. But it doesn’t have to be. There is no excuse for bland, limp and lifeless salad. Think vibrant! Think zesty! Think of what Paul Gayler might do at a time like this!
Most of you will be familiar with the smart Lanesborough Hotel chef, who has oft graced these internet site pages. You will probably have also seen him on British food TV where he has promoted his original and exciting cuisine. In Paul Gayler’s Little Book of Salads he turns his attention to, unsurprisingly, salad. Not the iceberg, tomato and cucumber of yesteryear but more complex and all-year-round-tempting dishes that are nevertheless simple to make.
Salads are healthy and quick. They are welcomed in warmer weather but there is a whole raft of salads that are ideal for winter meals. Roast Potato Salad with Smoked Salmon uses Jersey Royal potatoes, has some bite in the guise of gherkins, and richness from the fish. Keeping with that theme Truffled Potato Salad is a visual stunner. No, the potatoes are not covered in chocolate nor are they garnished with expensive fungi. Truffle potatoes are a variety of purple potato which helps to create a dish that is not only delicious but attractive.
Perhaps my favourite from the Winter Warmers chapter is Warm Lentil Salad with Goat’s Cheese and Anchovy Toasts. Anchovies give a salty tang without overt fishiness. Combined with the goat’s cheese they offer a taste of warmer climes when the wind is whistling and you want to spend an evening tucked up with holiday brochures.
Exotic salads work whatever the temperature. Spiced Chicken and Mango Salad nods to the Subcontinent for inspiration. The mango (Alphonso for preference) adds a light perfume and the green chilli offers a hint of heat. This would be wonderful served as part of an Eastern barbecue with perhaps lamb kebabs or chops.
Paul Gayler’s Little Book of Salads offers recipes that are accessible to home cooks and which have a touch of this chef’s usual innovation. Nothing is difficult. It’s salad for goodness sake! A great little book with plenty for the vegetarian and meat-eater alike.
Paul Gayler’s Little Book of Salads
Author: Paul Gayler
Published by: Kyle Cathie
Cookbook review by Chrissie Walker © 2018