Crab Salad – this recipe is done on a ‘per serving’ basis, so that you can increase quantities depending on numbers. This is enough for a generous first course – if you wanted to do it as part of a mixed starter, you could do less per person and use smaller lettuce leaves
Allow 25-50g crab (if you are on a tight budget, you’ll get away with a little less than this). You should always try and use fresh crab meat for this recipe as the flavours depend on the quality of the crab. If you use long-life or tinned crab, the taste wont be as zingy or fresh.
½ small potato, peeled, steamed, cooled down and then chopped into small chunks
1 teaspoon of good mayonnaise (Bia Blasta garlic & chives was the one we used at the Tasting evening) – depending on the wetness of the crab, you might need to adjust the quantities for this.
Dessertspoon of finely chopped cucumber
Flat-leaf parsley, chives or coriander leaves – teaspoon per serving; finely chopped
Squeeze of lemon juice
Outer leaf of a ‘Little Gem’ lettuce – or other lettuce which you can use as a plate substitute
Sit the crab in a colander for 10 minutes so that the excess water can drain off. Then, except for the lettuce leaves, mix all the ingredients together so that you get an even mixture, adding the salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste at the end.
Place a generous dessertspoon of the mix on to the lettuce leaf; arrange on a plate to serve, with extra lemon wedges on the side.
Roasted Vegetable Salad
The recipe here can be adapted to suit whatever is seasonal and available to you. My rule of thumb on quantities per person is to look at what you would normally expect a person to eat of one vegetable (e.g. a full pepper, or half a fennel bulb) and then multiply up from there. So, if you are serving six people and you have leek, pepper and fennel available to you, then two leeks, one pepper and one full fennel bulb should be enough. What I used to make the salad last week is one option, but please experiment with other vegetables as they come into season!
For 6 people:
1 small butternut squash
2 peppers – I prefer red or yellow ones
1 fennel bulb
2 leeks, white part only
Little gem (4 small heads), Romaine or Cos lettuce (depending on size, one of either of these should be enough)
4 cloves of garlic
Extra virgin olive oil (the best you can afford)
Fresh herbs – chose from coriander, flat-leaf parsley or other soft herb
A few sprigs of thyme
Salt & pepper
Turn on your oven to 175 degrees
Peel the squash if you like (at home I don’t bother to peel it and it turns out just fine!). Remove the top stalk and the bottom of the squash
Slice the squash in half length-wise, and then remove the pith and the seeds using a spoon.
Cut into largish bite-sized pieces, put on an oven dish in a single layer, add a little olive oil, 3 of the four garlic cloves, the thyme sprigs, some black pepper and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until you can insert a knife fairly easily into the slices – best if there is still a little resistance so that your squash isn’t overcooked.
For the Fennel: again, cut away the tops of the fennel and the fibrous base, and if any of the outer layers are yellowed or brown, remove them (When buying fennel, always look for pale outer leaves); then cut the fennel into wedges, so that a little of the fibrous middle stays with each wedge. Squeeze a little lemon juice over the fennel immediately (this stops discolouration) or put the fennel into water into which you have added some lemon juice). Put into an oven dish, add a little olive oil and then roast for about 20 – 30 minutes.
The peppers are even easier. Just cut each pepper lengthwise into four segments, do the same with the olive oil and oven roast for 20 minutes. You should have enough room on the oven dish for the fennel and peppers to fit in a single layer. Dont be tempted into piling in more than this single layer, as your veg will steam and not roast!
The leek is treated similarly. Cut into chunks about 1 inch long, only using the white (the green bits burn too easily!), and roast off in some olive oil for about 30 minutes.
Allow all the veg to cool to room temperature.
In a large bowl, add all the vegetables (and any juices in the pan) and the lettuce – you should separate out the larger fennel chunks into bite sized, and you could cut the peppers up into smaller slices if you like (I think it is quite nice to have different sizes going into the bowl, but it depends on your own preference!). Make up a dressing of one part lemon juice to 4 parts olive oil, and the last of the garlic cloves, very finely chopped. Add in the fresh herbs, finely chopped and season at the last minute.
Please experiment with other vegetables and flavours – add a mix of raw and cooked to get different textures, and in the summer you could BBQ the veg rather than oven roasting them.