Hey Brits, it really is summertime. That’s code for salad season!
Despite what you may think when you look out the window, or when you go out for a stroll in your mac, it is technically the summer. The weather, at least in the Southeast of England, has been so humid and muggy that the last thing I’ve wanted was a hot meal. As a result a lot of cooler soups and grains have been set on my dining table in recent weeks. I think for my husband that has not been easy because despite him feeling the same about the weather, he’s got that British thing going on where it can be tricky to bend expectations of how a dish should be. Soup should be hot, for instance (nevermind the fact that this statement is simply not true)!
But we are all creatures of habit and that has to be respected (and by “respected” I mean I don’t expect you to change your views, but I will still make fun of you for a long time). I compromised with a meal that was half cold and half hot. If you serve your veggies straight-from-the-oven and are worried about wilting the greens, simply serve next to instead of on the leaves.
The hubby is not a salad person unless “it is covered in dressing.” I always mean to ask him about this because, so far as I’m aware, salad is generally eaten with a dressing of some form. Perhaps he is referring to the sad and lone clumps of wilted lettuce often placed on the side of pub meal dishes? At any rate he ate this salad (and I would even go as far as guessing he enjoyed it, though he may claim otherwise).
Seriously, don’t make cool recipe ideas suck!
The idea for this came from a thought tucked away in the back of my limited grey bits for a few months. I visited a restaurant in Maryland that served a roasted vegetable salad that was mediocre at best, the sort of dish that made me say “but this has so much potential! Why did you make it suck!?” I knew I could do better and, to be honest, I did.
The salad dressing recipe provided is a very tangy and tart one, so if that’s a little much for you then by all means sweeten the dressing a little more. By all means, use your own dressing (I highly recommend a vinaigrette of some sort for this dish). The choice of veggies also isn’t set in stone; I bet some butternut squash or sweet potato would be a yummy addition! Experiment with your favourites and let me know how it goes. Be sure to try the roasted tomatoes though, even if you’re not a fan of tomatoes. I personally despise raw tomatoes, but the taste and texture when roasted is mouthwateringly good. Try throwing a teaspoon of sugar in with the roast tomato mix if you feel so inclined! It turns what is already a treat into a caramelised heaven. Spread it on bread, use it as the base for a dip, throw in a risotto… once you try roasted tomatoes you’ll want to use them in every dish you cook.
Roasted Red Pepper and Pomegranate Salad
- Heat the oven to 200 degrees celcius.
- Put the tomatoes in to roast first as they could take up to an hour. Simply mix the tomatoes with the oil, vinegar, and liquid smoke (if using) and pop in the oven (remember to put them in some sort of roasting container before placing them in the oven). Set your timer for about 45 minutes, but this is dependent on the size of the tomatoes and how gooey or burnt you like them. I like them to be quite well done, so keep that in mind with your own times.
- While the tomatoes are roasting, prepare the dressing. With a pestle and mortar, pound the garlic with the olive oil and salt until you have a smooth paste. Add the remaining ingredients, stir, and place in the fridge until ready to use. Note: you could use a blender of some form for this, but it’s a very small amount of liquid so keep that in mind.
- Now to prepare the other veggies for roasting. For the courgette, cut into thick 1 inch slices. If it’s a fat courgette, cut lengthways down its centre first so you have 1 inch halved slices. Make sure your chunks of onion are also relatively large (to keep them from burning to a crisp). Generally I will slice one half of an onion once or twice in line with the root, and then again across the middle if it’s a large onion.
- Mix the courgette and onion chunks with the rosemary and olive oil and pop in the oven for the last 25 minutes of the tomato cooking time. If these are finished before the tomatoes, however, that’s fine. They’re quite nice a little cooler as it’s a salad and all.
- The tempeh should begin its preparation about ten minutes before you’re ready to serve the meal. Begin by pounding the garlic so its juices are exposed, and mix with the lemon juice, soy sauce, and oregano. Heat a grill pan to a relatively hot temperature (this is always hard for me to gauge because I’m one of those unlucky folk who have to cook on electric) with plenty of olive oil for frying. Slice your tempeh into 4 triangles and dip each one into the broth to coat and then place immediately on the griddle (or, if you don’t have one, a frying pan). Fry on each side for about 3-5 minutes, or until crispy and golden grill lines are visible.