Crunch time: Beat those winter blues with Mark Hix's inventive salads

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Who said that salads had to be eaten during the summer months?

You may think that salads are the last thing you should be thinking of during these cold months, but a crunchy, healthy, winter salad always goes down well at a dinner party or family meal. You can turn most good ingredients into an interesting salad – and legend has it that the famous Caesar salad was invented by simply using up a selection of leftovers.

Ruby salad

Serves 4

This is a great winter or autumn salad using a good mixture of red leaves and whatever other suitable red ingredients you can get your hands on.

3-4 good handfuls of red salad leaves such as treviso, radicchio, ruby chard, red endive, red amaranth, etc
2 medium beetroots, cooked, peeled and cut into wedges
20 seedless black grapes, halved
2 large red onions, baked in a moderate oven in their skins for 45 minutes

For the dressing

2tbsp good-quality red wine vinegar
5tbsp olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Whisk the vinegar and oil together and season to taste. Remove the skins from the onions, cut them into 6 wedges each and pull the natural layers apart. Toss all of the ingredients together with the dressing and season.

Chopped salad

Serves 4-6

American-style chopped salad has finally hit London restaurant menus – including ours. And it's a good thing, too, after years of having to endure micro-greens and flabby, tasteless, supermarket leaves. I remember that about 25 years ago, the room service menu in hotels would often feature a chef's salad, which was basically whatever they had in the fridge chopped up and arranged neatly in a bowl.

Cutting your seasonal vegetables to the right size to fit the fork or spoon is crucial, and crisp leaves like romaine or iceberg tossed in help to give it that crunch. Getting the dressing right is important, too – it needs to compliment the vegetables and there should be enough of it to coat the ingredients well.

You are going to see this salad on more and more restaurant menus with chicken, prawns, lobster – or cheese as a vegetarian alternative, and I've even heard that Fay Maschler is going to be doing chopped salad masterclasses.

6 boneless chicken thighs, cooked and cut into 1cm dice, or use feta for a vegetarian option
1 red pepper, halved, seeded and cut into 1cm dice
60-70g green beans, cooked and cut into cm lengths
4-5 spring onions, sliced
1 avocado, peeled, stoned and cut into rough 1cm dice
5-6cm piece of white radish, peeled and cut into 1cm cubes
a small cucumber, halved, seeded and cut into rough cm cubes
1 large beef tomato, cut into 1cm dice
50-60g cooked peas and/or broad beans if in season (or use frozen)
1 small or half an iceberg or romaine lettuce, washed, dried and cut into 1cm dice
1 small head of radicchio, washed, dried and cut into 1cm dice
2tbsp chopped chervil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the dressing

2tbsp cider or white wine vinegar
1tbsp Dijon mustard
3tbsp olive oil
3tbsp vegetable or corn oil
1 clove of garlic, halved
A few sprigs of tarragon

First make the dressing. Whisk all of the ingredients together, season and leave to infuse for a couple of hours, then strain through a sieve. To serve, toss all of the ingredients together, season and transfer to individual or large serving bowls.

Hot potato, smoked haddock and spring onion salad

Serves 4

This combination of warm potatoes and haddock makes a great starter (or even a brunch dish with a poached egg on top).

2 medium shallots, peeled and finely chopped
100ml chicken or vegetable stock
30ml white wine vinegar
500g large new potatoes, peeled, cooked and sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1tbsp parsley, finely chopped
30-40ml olive or rapeseed oil
4 spring onions, trimmed, washed and finely chopped
20-300g natural smoked haddock
Milk for poaching

Put the shallots, two-thirds of the stock and the white wine vinegar in a saucepan and bring to the boil and simmer until almost completely reduced.

Add the sliced potatoes and the rest of the stock, stir well, cover and cook gently over a low heat for another 4-5 minutes, giving the occasional stir. The liquid should have almost disappeared and the potatoes should be falling apart a little.

Stir in the olive or rapeseed oil and the parsley and replace the lid to keep warm.

Meanwhile, bring the milk to the boil, add a little salt and poach the haddock for about five minutes, then remove from the milk, leave to cool a little and remove the skin. Spoon the warm potatoes on to serving plates and flake the haddock over the top. Garnish with the spring onions.

Cauliflower, puntarelle, hazelnut and raisin salad

Serves 4

1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
1 small head of puntarelle, outside leaves removed to reveal the heart
40g raisins soaked in water overnight
40 hazelnuts, lightly toasted
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2tbsp white balsamic
3-4tbsp olive oil

Cook the cauliflower in boiling water for 3-4 minutes so that it's still crunchy; drain. Slice the puntarelle heart thinly with a knife or on a mandolin. Cut the cauliflower into bite-sized pieces; toss in a bowl with the puntarelle, raisins, hazelnuts, balsamic and olive oil; season. Leave for 30 minutes then give a final stir and serve.

ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Guru Careers: Dining Room Head Chef

    £32K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Dining Room Head Chef to work for one of ...

    Guru Careers: Pastry Sous Chef / Experienced Pastry Chef

    £27K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pastry Sous Chef / Experienced Pastry Che...

    Ashdown Group: Technical IT Manager - North London - Growing business

    £40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A growing business that has been ope...

    Recruitment Genius: Technical Supervisor

    £24800 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As one of London's leading Muse...

    Day In a Page

    General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

    'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

    In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
    VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

    How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

    Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
    They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

    Typefaces still matter in the digital age

    A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
    Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

    'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

    New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
    Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

    Ronald McDonald the muse

    A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
    13 best picnic blankets

    13 best picnic blankets

    Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
    General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
    General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

    On the margins

    From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
    Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

    'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

    Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
    Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

    Why patients must rely less on doctors

    Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
    Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

    Flesh in Venice

    Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
    Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

    Juventus vs Real Madrid

    Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
    Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

    Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

    Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected