I love this time of the year when you get to share the bounty of the garden and produce is plentiful and affordable.
The tomatoes and courgette in the photo came from my friend David, our Raeward Fresh Butchers garden, and although some of the tomatoes were lovingly squashed in his pocket they were gratefully accepted and tasted amazing in this salad.
There always seems to be an over supply of courgettes at this time of the year, with an occasional missed courgette masquerading as a marrow on offer. This makes it an ideal time for experimenting with new recipes for you to enjoy them. If you are lucky and have had a summer like the one we have just had, you may have your own abundance of tomatoes and basil in the garden. My aim, as always, is to cook vegetables often while they are plentiful, enjoying them at their best flavour and nutritional value, then also – hopefully – I wont crave them so much when they go out of season.
For this simple summer salad you can bring out that crazy spiralizer, vegetable peeler or mandoline. Spirallized noodles, simply peeled, long strands of courgette, and if even that sounds a bit of mad – courgettes cut into rounds as thinly as you can, and then let the basil marinade do the work, coating them and making them delicious.
SUMMER BOUNTY SALAD
Enough for a large salad for four
- Courgettes – enough for 1 1/2 – 2 cups per person
- Mixed Tomatoes – at least 3 cups
- Small cucumber
- 2-3 cups baby spinach
- 1 -2 capsicum
- Few extra basil leaves
- Olives 1/2 cup
- Capers 1/2 cup
- Optional feta or grilled halloumi
- Optional toasted pinenuts
- Optional anchovies
- Big handful of fresh basil leaves
- 1 clove of garlic
- Juice of one lemon
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- Optional 1-2 anchovies
- salt and pepper
Start by blending all the ingredients for your dressing until finely chopped and emulsified and pour into the bottom of your largest mixing bowl.
Prepare your courgettes and mix them thoroughly through the dressing so it is all well coated.
Cut tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers into similar small bite sized pieces and add with your spinach, capers and olives to the courgettes and carefully hand mix.
At this stage you can leave your salad to marinate until you are ready to eat, it will hold well for a couple of hours before finishing, remember you will need to drain off juices that will have come from the courgettes, tomatoes and cucumber if you leave it resting before folding through the rest of your ingredients.
Finally, gently mix through spinach, shredded basil leaves, feta/haloumi, and optional pinenuts / anchovies, into your serving bowl. My photos for this post have been taken over several variations of this salad and as you can see you can vary the vegetables and condiments a little according to what is in your refrigerator (cucumber one time not the next…) – that said I really think that to me the capers are essential!
This salad is great served as a simple lunch or supper with the feta or grilled haloumi cheese. You can serve it as a side salad to a larger meal and as you see it was delicious today with pan fried fish sizzled with extra capers in the pan as it cooked. It would be equally delicious with your summer barbecued meat of the day.
It does get a little juicy and some nice ciabatta on the side to soak up the juices would also be delicious but not essential.