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Saturday, 14 July 2007

broccolini salad

Moving out of SE1 and into EC1 has meant bidding a sad farewell to Borough Market and a frosty hello to Waitrose as the nearest provider of groceries until I get my arse around to having a weekly box delivered. After avoiding all big supermarkets for two years it is frankly depressing. But a curious thing happened the other day. I found myself buying all sorts of fancy veggies the likes of which I wouldn't normally look twice at on a market stall. Broccolini might be de rigeur for some but I've never so much as given it a sideways glance before. And then there's the plate arrangement. Odd, very odd.

What you need for the salad

Broccolini spears
1 witlof
Lemon juice

Getting it on

Chop off the witlof stalk then discard any crappy outer leaves and the core. Separate, wash and dry the remaining leaves then arrange 6 to 8 of the bigger ones on your plate in the shape of flower petals if your posh heart so desires. Chop the rest into small pieces. Bring some salted water to the boil. Add the broccolini for two minutes, then drain and plunge into cold water to stop it cooking. Drain, toss with the chopped witlof, a bit of lemon juice and salt'n'peppa then arrange the broccolini mix on the witlof leaves.

For the pesto cream

I didn't want the hardcore oily richness of a regular parmesan pesto so I improvised.

A large handful of big basil leaves
A handful of pine nuts
A generous glug of olive oil
A generous glug of red wine vinegar
About 6 cornichons (optional)
A generous tablespoon of cream or yoghurt
Salt and pepper to taste
A squeeze of lemon juice

Getting it on

To make the pesto, all you really need to do is mix all the ingredients together in a blender. But I'd advise adding the oil, vinegar and cream/yoghurt a little at a time to taste until you achieve the desired tartness and creaminess. And hey presto, fancy pesto is all yours.

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