I have long been a supporter of the fact that salads do not have to be boring! So why then do so many of us see a salad for lunch or dinner as some kind of bland diet food or as a punishment for eating that burger the previous night? Perhaps it is to do with the fact that a lot of salads are unsatisfying bowls of soggy lettuce with a bit of cucumber and tomato and topped with some kind of over vinegary sauce because people believe that this is the safe option in order to be healthy. Only problem is, come lunchtime and your colleagues are discussing whether to go for pizza or sushi and your salad then ends up sitting in the back of the fridge until you remember to clear it out.
Salad’s don’t have to be boring. The key is to mix them up a bit by buying different ingredients or using leftovers. For example if I am making a Pork Panang Curry then I keep aside a few of the cooked meatballs and add them to a coriander salad. Or make a little extra of this Cumin and Hazelnut Roasted Cauliflower side dish and mix with a load of watercress and rocket. I also end up with bits of leftover cheese as one meal doesn’t often require the whole packet and I then use it in a salad with some leftover meat or vegetables. And I always make sure not to have the same salad twice in a row!
This is one of my favourite salad recipes and shows that salads shouldn’t be restricted to tasteless and boring diet food. The sweetness from the caramelised pears and the saltiness from the ham work so well together. I made this as a main dish but you can easily make smaller portions for a nice and simple starter. I serve this salad with some Apple and Tomato Chutney on the side.
- 2 pears
- 1 romaine lettuce (chopped)
- Large handful of rocket leaves (roughly torn)
- Cucumber (sliced)
- Cherry tomatoes (small handful and halved)
- 100g brie (sliced into small pieces)
- 4 slices parma ham (roughly torn)
- Juice of half a lemon
- 2 tbpsn olive oil
- 1 tspn dijon mustard
- 25g butter
- 1 light muscovado sugar
- Black pepper
- Heat the butter and sugar in a pan. Roughly chop the pears. Add the pears to the pan and cook for 2-3 mins each side until golden.
- In a large mixing bowl add the salad and rocket leaves. Then add the cucumber, tomatoes, brie and parma ham.
- In a small bowl mix together the olive oil, lemon juice and mustard. Pour into the bowl with the rest of the salad ingredients and mix well. Season with some black pepper.
- Plate up the salad and top with the pears.