Lynn Bain — 18 December 2015

Salad Nicoise

The blending of warm and cold ingredients in this salad is fantastic. I like to serve it family-style – with the diners serving themselves from a platter of salad.

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 10-15 minutes (this cooking time is for the beans, potatoes and eggs)

The following quantities will serve four

  • 4 large handfuls of green salad leaves  
  • 150g green beans, topped, tailed and steamed until just tender
  • 2-3 very ripe tomatoes, cut into eighths
  • 200g tuna (in olive oil), drained
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, each cut into four
  • 3 cooked, peeled potatoes, cut into chunks
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • Freshly ground salt and pepper
  • Small handful pitted black olives
  • 4-6 anchovies

Scatter the salad leaves over a serving plate. Carefully and gently mix the beans, tomatoes, drained tuna chunks, egg and potatoes with the olive oil, white wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Then spread this mixture over the salad leaves. Scatter the black olives and anchovies over the top and your Salad Nicoise is ready to serve. Serve with chunks of crusty bread (for mopping purposes). 

Green Pawpaw Salad

The first time I tasted this salad was at a market in Darwin and I have been a huge fan ever since. Slurping and crunching are difficult to avoid when eating this salad, but everyone is in the same boat so go with the flow and slurp and crunch to your heart’s content!

It is a good idea to make the sauce before preparing the fresh ingredients.

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: nil

The following quantities will serve four

  • 1 green pawpaw
  • 6 Asian (golden) shallots, finely sliced
  • The leaves from a generous bunch of coriander
  • 12 or so mint leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp lemongrass, white part only, finely chopped
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves, finely shredded
  • 1/4-1/2 cup hot and sour sauce (recipe follows)
  • 3 tbsp unsalted roasted peanuts, crushed
  • 3 tbsp crispy fried golden shallots

Hot and Sour Sauce

  • 3 red chillies, seeds removed and finely chopped (2-3tbsp chilli jam can be used as an alternative)
  • 6 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 80ml Thai fish sauce
  • 150ml fresh lime juice
  • 3 tsp palm or light brown sugar (leave this ingredient out if you are using chilli jam)

First, make the hot and sour sauce. In a mortar and pestle, pound the chillies and garlic together to form a paste. If you are using chilli jam, then you will only need to pound the garlic.

Transfer the paste to a glass bowl and then add the rest of the sauce ingredients. Stir well, then taste. You may need to add a little more fish sauce or lime juice to suit your palate.  

For the salad base, first peel the pawpaw, taking care because it can be slippery. Using the coarse blade of a grater, grate the pawpaw into a bowl.

Combine the grated pawpaw, sliced golden shallots, coriander leaves, mint leaves, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves in a glass bowl. Drizzle the salad generously with the hot and sour sauce until all the ingredients are well-coated.

Serve in individual bowls and top generously with crushed roasted peanuts and crispy fried shallots.

Classic Leaf Salad 

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: nil

The following quantities will serve four

  • 400g mixed salad leaves
  • Small handful of herbs
  • 2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • Freshly ground salt and pepper, to taste

Tear the salad leaves into bite sized pieces with your fingers. In a bowl, combine the salad leaves and the soft herbs.

To make the dressing, whisk together the white wine vinegar and the olive oil in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Now pour the dressing over the salad leaves and herbs.

Serve as soon as you dress the salad.


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Lynn Bain