Finally getting some time out in the garden this weekend reminds me why I love living in Ireland, getting to tend the vegetable patch and enjoy the sounds of the kids playing and running around is pleasure at its simplest.
With all the delicious spring vegetables available now, I love letting them take center stage by omitting any meat. This salad is chock full of colour, flavour, vitamins, minerals
and antioxidants all guaranteed to put a spring in your step. It’ easy to put together, any baby vegetables and salad leaves you have in the house will make a delicious salad. It is the roasted garlic aioli which elevates this salad from an ordinary plate to one you would gladly serve for a lunch with friends (as well as being delicious with a piece of fish or chicken). The cauliflower is the surprise, pulsed to breadcrumbs and cooked on the pan, gives a delicious sweet nuttiness which works really well on this salad plate.
Roast Garlic Aioli
1 head of garlic
100ml good quality mayonnaise
Juice of half a lemon
few saffron threads
1 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
salt and pepper
Soak the saffron threads in hot water
Split the garlic in half, drizzle with a few tbsp olive oil, loosely wrap in silver foil and roast at 200C for about 2o minutes until soft
Squeeze out the roasted garlic and mash well.
Tip the mayo into a bowl, whisk in the lemon juice, the saffron threads, the roasted mashed garlic and the chopped parsley.
Season well and set aside until your salad is ready.
A Handful each of beans, asparagus, baby corn all blanched and refreshed in ice water
A few cherry tomatoes sliced in half
2 boiled eggs quartered
handful of mixed seeds toasted on the pan
Handful of baby gem leaves
1/2 cooked beetroot, sliced into small segments
1/4 head of cauliflower
Cut the cauliflower into florets and pulse in a blender until like breadcrumbs
Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a medium pan and tip the cauliflower into the oil, season and cook on a medium heat until golden and cooked – about 4 minutes.
Dress the lettuce leaves in some aioli, place on serving plate and add the rest of the salad ingredients.
Dress with the aioli and sprinkle over the toasted seeds.