There are a few reasons why i don’t eat out that often: its expensive, its hard to find places that cater to my diet (your a what? vegan and gluten free? jesus! what an irritatingly fussy eater…) the cheap wines hideous (give me my £4 bottle o french red any day ta), the list goes on. However, i am beginning to sound like the old lady i really am. The main reason is the this little issue of salad.
For any given meal i serve and we eat, a very big bowl of salad. I stress big. Big as in one of them massive mixing bowls. In the land of social media its whats referred to as a “big asse bowl of salad”. BABS. I like the acronym (though i’ve never seen it before). Whether its simply dressed leaves or an everything-old-in-the-fridge affair is always, no exceptions, big. In fact, i rarely make “salad” for dinner because its pretty much a given that salad is for dinner, though it be a (ginormous) side.
Therefore, on the rare occasions salad is the star of the show, it has to be pretty darn groovy. The following salad is certainly that, in a daisy chains, custom- made flairs/ love in sort of a way. Its ambitious, robust and rebellious. Its the sort of salad that dyes its hair purple and doesn’t live to regret it.
The main attraction is the fragrantly marinated aubergine. Tossed in advieh and drowned in lemon juice- ah yes, that reminds me…
Tip of The Day: There is no need to salt your aubergines prior to cooking; lemon juice will both tenderise and draw out the excess water. Coming from the salt fiend (guilty/ shame face) its really not necessary.
Anyways, getting back. Once marinated, you’re free to cook the aubs’ however you wish, since i’m sticking to raw through the week (and i was blessed with a dehydrator for my bday- thanks Natasha & Daniel!) i popped mine in there for an hour or two.
The base is of course the BABS. Put whatever you so desire into the mix, but bearing in mind that this is a Persian salad, there are a few stipulations: mint, dill, dates and pomegranates. From there i added sweet, plump sultanas, offset by crunchy, sour pickled fennel, shaved celery, fresh peas, peppery radish, juicy tomatoes and wonderfully bitter cabbage.
The dressing is sweet, tart and refreshing. Preserved lemons toy with pomegranate juice in a mouthwatering symphony. The rich oil holds these two strong flavours fantastically and coddles the BABS perfectly.
Salad days = happy days. Persian cuisine is certainly something i’ll be getting my roots firmly in to.
(Serves 2 healthy appetites, Vegan, Gluten Free, RAW)
- 1 Aubergine
- 1 tsp Advieh
- juice 1 Lemon
- 1 bag salad leaves
- 1/5 Cabbage, finely sliced
- 1/8 Cucumber, quartered and sliced
- 6 baby Plum Tomatoes, quartered
- 4 Spring Onions, sliced diagonally
- 4 tbsp Pickled Fennel (or fresh)
- 4 Radish, finely chopped
- 4 tsp Fresh Peas
- 10 Dates, pitted and chopped
- seeds from 1/2 Pomegranate
- 4 tsp chopped Mint
- 2 tbsp chopped Dill
- Slice the aubergine into thin disks
- Pop into a freezer bag
- Pour the advieh and lemon into the bag
- Seal and shake about to coat
- Leave for at least 2 hours, shaking occasionally
- Remove aubs from the bag, shaking off excess marinade
- Dehydrate for 2 hours (or cook to your preference)
- Combine all the remaining ingredients in a large mixing bowl
- 1/4 Preserved Lemon, roughly chopped
- juice and seeds of 1/2 Pomegranate
- 4 tbsp Olive Oil
- scant pinch of Sea Salt
- 1/2 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
- Blend/ bash all the ingredients
- Transfer to a clean jar, shake and then pour 2/3 onto your salad
- Use your hands to massage all the veg, leave for at least 30 mins
- Serve by laying salad on a plate, top with the aubergines and sprinkle a few more pomegranate seeds and dill on top