When prepared with care, a simple green leaf salad is one of the most joyous dishes to eat. Start with fresh, crisp leaves that have been rinsed of dirt and grit and dried thoroughly in a clean tea towel or salad spinner. Next, due care should be taken when making the vinaigrette. The correct balance of acidity can become a bone of contention among cooks, but erring on the side of more acid lifts the salad ingredient flavours and gives a cleaner finish on the palate. The dressing should be just enough to coat the leaves evenly without leaving a pool in the base of the salad bowl and this should be done just before serving to ensure the leaves remain crisp.
- ½ bunch flat-leaf parsley
- ½ bunch basil
- 1 bunch chives
- 2 baby cos, leaves separated and washed
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 anchovy fillets
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 80 ml extra-virgin olive oil (1/3 cup)
- 1For garlic and anchovy vinaigrette, place garlic and anchovies into a mortar and, using a pestle, crush to a fine paste. Add mustard and vinegar and stir to combine, then whisk in oil in a thin stream until incorporated and season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- 2Pick leaves from parsley and basil and combine in a large bowl. Cut chives into 2cm lengths and add to herbs with cos and toss to combine. Drizzle with dressing and serve immediately.
For a watercress and avocado salad, combine watercress with coarsely chopped avocado and Persian feta. Place pistachio kernels in a mortar and, using a pestle, pound until finely ground, whisk in lemon juice, pistachio oil and wholegrain mustard, season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, pour over salad and toss to combine.
For a parsley, red onion, oxheart tomato and pecorino salad, combine flat-leaf parsley leaves and coarsely chopped oxheart tomatoes in a bowl. Finely shave a red onion, place into a separate bowl and just cover with red wine vinegar. Stand for 10 minutes. Whisk together some soaking vinegar with olive oil and a pinch of brown sugar. Add onion to salad, drizzle with dressing, scatter with shaved pecorino cheese and serve immediately.