Mark's summer herb salad contains unusual leaves such as bittercress and chickweed / Jason Lowe

Serves 4

I've been growing my own salads and herbs at home now for years and it's so satisfying to harvest those unusual leaves that you can't buy in the shops. I even harvest weeds like bittercress and chickweed that would normally go in the compost. Some ornamental plants like sedum and nasturtiums are great tossed into a salad, so at any one time I can have at least eight or so different herb and salad leaves in my salad bowl. To buy a really interesting selection of salads, check out Steve's Leaves (

My larder always has a selection of vinegars and oils from around the world so I can create dressings for every occasion. Some vinegars are too sharp, especially in a delicate salad like this, so I often use a moscatel or chardonnay vinegar and a blend of rapeseed or olive and peanut oil. Another of my favourites is sherry vinegar mixed with walnut or hazelnut oil and caster sugar.

2-3 handfuls of interesting salad leaves and herbs, washed and dried

For the dressing

1tbsp chardonnay or moscatel vinegar
tbsp Dijon or Tewksbury mustard
2tbsp olive oil
2tbsp peanut oil
A sprig of tarragon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

The day before, make the dressing by whisking all of the ingredients together or shaking them together in a jar, then leave overnight to infuse.

To serve, toss the leaves in half of the dressing and serve the rest of the dressing separately.