5 warm salads to convert the greatest sceptic

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5 warm salads to convert the greatest sceptic

Wilted, warm lettuce and soggy tomatoes. This is the unsavoury image that used to come to mind for Hannah Lewry when she thought of warm salads – until she discovered just how delicious they can be. Here are five recipes you’ll love as much as she does.

What exactly counts as a warm salad?

Adding a warm ingredient such as crisp bacon, calamari or wedges of roasted butternut to an otherwise cool and crunchy salad passes as a warm salad in my book.

Tips for making the best warm salads:

• Add herbs just before serving – the warmth of the protein or vegetables will enhance the flavour.
• Toasting nuts or seeds to sprinkle over is always a good idea.
• Always assemble the salad at the last minute to prevent wilting.
• Try a warm dressing drizzled over crunchy shaved vegetables. Asian coconut dressings are great, especially with noodles.
• Char vegetables such as whole peppers, brinjals and baby marrow over the braai until blackened completely. Then place them in a bowl covered with clingfilm to steam. Rub the charred skin off the vegetables before tearing them into pieces and mixing with rocket leaves with salty cheese.
• Try to avoid crisp, delicate lettuce leaves as they will wilt and become slimy. Instead, add leaves like baby spinach, rocket or finely sliced Swiss chard or kale.

5 of the best warm salads

1. Roast vegetable salads
I think garlic and beetroot are a winning combination because of the sweetness of the roasted garlic and earthiness of the beets. Toss in thick Parmesan dressing for a salty, acidic finish.

Try: Roast garlic-and-beetroot salad

2. Seafood salads
I have two favourites: If you are carb-conscious, try the warm egg and seafood salad and add sesame seeds for crunch and flavour. But if you are introducing your family to warm salads, you can’t go wrong with the seafood pasta salad. It’s a brilliant recipe for spring.

Try: Warm egg-and-seafood salad and seafood pasta salad

3. Warm potato salad
A classic cold potato salad made with top-quality mayonnaise is one of my biggest weaknesses. But there is something sensational about this grown-up warm version. Baby potatoes are always the best to use for their texture and they don’t fall apart. Toss them in the dressing while they are still hot to soak up all the delicious flavours.

Try: Pan-seared mackerel with warm potato-and-caper salad

4 . Charred vegetable salads
Whenever I have loads of people over for a braai I make chargrilled baby marrow and avocado salad. Slice 12 baby marrows into 3 strips lengthways. Toss the baby marrows in 2 T olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Chargrill on each side for 1 minute so that they keep their crunch but gain smoky flavour. Serve immediately tossed with baby spinach, crumbled feta, freshly sliced chilli, torn fresh mint and diced avocado with a squeeze of lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil. Add a handful or two of peas or toasted nuts such as almonds. Also delicious with crispy bacon if you are making the salad as a full meal.

5. Steamed or blanched vegetable salads
My warm green bean and tomato salad is all about the dressing. Use the tip of a knife to mash ½ a clove of garlic on a chopping board in a pinch of sea salt, which helps turn it into a paste. Add to a jar along with 2 t Dijon mustard, 1 T red wine vinegar, 3 T good olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice. Give it a good shake. Blanch 250 g of fine green beans, drain and, while the beans are still hot, toss them in the dressing. Serve immediately topped with 2 handfuls of diced cherry tomatoes, 1 finely diced red onion and 1 x 400 g can of drained lentils and Parmesan shavings.

Looking for something a little different? Try this warm goat’s cheese and citrus salad with a caramelised lemon dressing.

For more great salad ideas, click here.

Hannah Lewry Article by: Hannah Lewry

Woolworths TASTE’s Food Editor is passionate about conjuring up fresh ideas for fast and easy dishes that taste as great as they look. Turn to her expertise for everything from time-saving mid-week food to lazy weekend meals. You’ll have a lot of fun in the kitchen while you’re about it.

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