The Musette: Summer Vegetable Salad

When my beloved’s home, I shop each day but when I’m home alone  – as I was this last Bank Holiday week-end – I’m happy to whip up a big bowl of something and eat it for a couple of days. Whatever I cook is typically determined by what’s fresh, seasonal and local. Here I was inspired by some ingredients piled side by side in my local organic grocers: fresh peas, French beans, broad beans, courgettes (zucchini) and sweet-scented basil.

Ingredients (serves 4 as a main dish)

  • 2 large courgettes (zucchini) one yellow and one green
  • 80g (2 3/4oz) freshly podded peas
  • 150g (5 z) freshly podded broad beans
  • 100g French beans
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 small avocado
  • 5 tbsp extra virgin cold-pressed olive oil
  • 1 organic lemon, juice and zest

Method

1. Start by spiralising the courgettes (zucchini) but if you don’t have a spiraliser, use a vegetable peeler to cut the them into wide strips and then jullienne with a knife. Set aside in a colander to drain.

2. Blanch the vegetables in salted boiling salted water as follows: beans (4 mins), broad beans (3 mins), peas (1 min). Drain and put into ice cold water to stop the cooking process and preserve the colour. Allow to cool then take the outer skin off the broad beans and split into two.

3. Make the dressing by adding the last six ingredients to a food processor and pulse gently. You still want to have bits of avocado. Check seasoning.

4. Put the drained courgettes in a bowl, add the dressing and stir to coat. Then add the cooked vegetables, check seasoning and serve.

Sheree’s Handy Hints

1. You can freely substitute and/or add vegetable to this salads. Cooked artichokes and  asparagus, along with raw rocket, spinach and spring onions would all go well in the salad, as would some finely sliced radishes for a peppery crunch. Do NOT substitute fresh peas with frozen or tinned peas, it won’t have the same impact.

2. I decided not to add any garlic to the dressing for fear it would overpower it. I wanted the sweet taste of the basil to shine. If you don’t have any basil, use parsley and then add a medium clove of garlic as well to the dressing ingredients.

3. I like my vegetables al-dente but, if you don’t, just blanch the French and broad beans for a bit longer.

4. Some toasted flaked almonds scattered on the top or some toasted seeds also wouldn’t go amiss

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