Does the sunny weather make you want to reach for a cool, refreshing salad? Are you wishing that you could pop into your garden and harvest some fresh, organic leaves? If so, Charles Dowding’s Salad Leaves for all seasons: Organic growing from pot to plot can help you. Providing not only a detailed guide on how to grow your salad, he also includes some handy seasonal recipes. Here are some examples from July:
Lettuce Heart (Marvel of Four Seasons in this case) with Avocado, Bacon, Garlic and Orache
A whole hearted lettuce makes a fantastic base for any dish, left intact here and splayed open from the top. Washing is more difficult than with individual leaves and needs some care; after washing hold it upside down and gently shake out the water. Butterhead lettuce have slightly waxy leaves which contribute their own oiliness to a well lubricated salad, even without any dressing.
1 hearted lettuce
Orache leaves, about 20
3 rashers bacon
A little oil for frying
Garlic cloves to taste
- Slice an avocado into four quarters lengthwise; if it is ripe, the skin can simply be peeled off. Use it to weigh open the lettuce heart on top of small beds of orache leaves, which help to differentiate the green leaves and avocado.
- Fry three rashers of bacon (in this case I use back bacon), chop them and sprinkle over the avocado and lettuce.
- Garnish with some small cloves or pieces of raw garlic in the avocados – so that anybody who finds raw garlic too strong may remove them! I find the garlic is a good balance to the other oily ingredients.
Green Soup (feeds 15)
This soup is great for using up surplus leaves, and can be made with different leaves at any time of year when harvests are bountiful. It can be eaten hot or cold.
50g / 2oz butter
3 large onions
6 medium-large potatoes
Up to 500g / 16oz of salad leaves, whatever is in surplus
6 small cloves of garlic
1 litre good stock, or 4 stock cubes
500ml / 1 pint creamy milk
Salt and pepper
- Chop onions and slowly cook in butter in ovenproof pan.
- Peel and slice potatoes, add to pan and season well with salt and pepper.
- Add the stock. Bring to boil, cover pan and put in a low oven or simmer gently for 1⁄2 hour or more.
- Chop garlic and leaves, add to softened potato and onion mix. No need to put back on heat or in oven.
- Liquidise and taste.
- Add milk, taste again and check consistency. Dilute if necessary.
To get started growing salads like these pick up Salad Leaves for all seasons at www.greenbooks.co.uk/salad-leaves-for-all-seasons and see what you can create!