A child-friendly salad from Jenny Chandler
This is a great template for a spring salad for anyone and everyone. It may seem bonkers to get children making salads—don’t most of them hate greens? Well, they’ll often surprise you when they’re in the driving seat, let them do the choosing and see what they come up with. You will probably have to help with the initial cooking of the potatoes, beans and peas. You may even have to set them off with some chopping, peeling or ripping but then it’s time to step away from the chopping board and allow them to experiment.
200g peas/ broad beans or a mixture of both, podded (that will be about 700g in their pods)
500g new potatoes
300g salad leaves, watercress, rocket, pea shoots, little gem, baby spinach
3 spring onions
200g cured ham such as Italian prosciutto or Spanish jamón, or traditional British cooked ham
100g hard cheese such as Italian pecorino, a Spanish manchego or a local speciality hard cheese
10 medium radishes
A small handful of mint, flat leaf parsley leaves or fronds of chervil, to garnish
For the dressing:
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Juice of ½ lemon
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Start out by podding your beans and peas (and don’t throw out those pods—see below*). If your broad beans are on the large side, you’ll want to pop each bean out of its pale green skin—just wait until you’ve boiled them later.
Wash the potatoes well and boil them until tender. Drain and leave to cool down. If you have a steamer you could place the peas and beans above the cooking potatoes for about 3 mins, otherwise 2 mins in boiling water will do the trick—they require very little cooking.
Drain and run some cold water through them to set their stunning colour. Shell any of the bigger broad beans by pinching the skin, allowing the fabulously bright green beans to pop out.
Wash and dry the salad leaves. You may need to rip the bigger leaves into smaller bite-sized pieces.
Chop the root and outer skin from the spring onions and slice into thin rounds, including about half of the green section.
Rip the cured meat or slice the traditional ham into 5cm-ish sized pieces and use a potato peeler to cut the cheese into slithers.
Wash and cut the radishes as you like, into slices or quarters.
Chop the potatoes into even-sized pieces and then add them to a salad bowl with the rest of the ingredients. It’s an idea to keep a small selection of pretty peas and leaves back to garnish the dish.
Shake up the dressing ingredients in a jam jar and tip over the salad. Toss gently with your hands (they’ll be clean, you’re cooking!)
Sprinkle over any selected ingredients you may have set aside and scatter with your herbs. Serve with good bread.
*Bean or pea pods can be simmered for about 30 mins in chicken stock or water, blitzed with a hand held blender and then strained to give a fabulously fresh and tasty soup base.
ALTERNATIVE: Try adding cooked asparagus, mange tout, green beans or quarters of boiled egg to the salad too.
Recipe: Jenny Chandler