If I have to name the favourite recipe of the year (so far, that is), then this would be it. I can’t remember how many times I have made this, but I still can’t get enough of this vegetable salad. Regardless of whether served as a side, or on its own, it tastes just great.
It all started when I resolved that I was not venturous enough with respect to mustards. In the past, I slowly (read it ‘very slowly’) acquired a taste for Dijon mustard. A tsp or two in vinaigrettes, tarts, or cream sauces, is how got used to that funky flavour. When I was browsing the store shelves for a different kind, the whole grain kind caught my eyes. The yellow and brown seeds were, how to say, interesting.
I was itching to make use of it, but wasn’t sure where to start. You cannot go wrong with a simple lemon vinaigrette, and that was where I started. Pure bliss, I should say. The crunchy texture was exactly what I was looking for. I made, and remade the dressing and improvised it to the level, that now I am totally satisfied.
With a fridge brimming with produce, I used whatever I could lay my hands on and came up with this recipe. Feel free to use your favourite vegetables, but do try the dressing. Its my absolute favourite!Summer Vegetable Salad
(serves 2)IngredientsYellow and/or green beans – 8 oz, about 2 handfuls
Asparagus – 4 oz
Baby potatoes – about 15
Bell peppers – 2, red, orange or yellow
Tomatoes – 2, largeLemon-Whole Grain Mustard DressingZest and juice of a large, organic* lemon
Whole grain mustard – 1½ tsp
Garlic – 1 clove, smashed and minced
Red wine vinegar – a splash
Olive oil – 1 tbsp
Parsley – 2 tbsp, finely chopped
Dried oregano – 1 tsp
Red pepper flakes – 2 tsp
Salt*use pesticide-free citrus if using the zestMethod
Scrub and wash the potatoes. Cut away any black spots. Cut the bigger ones into half. Trim off the green and yellow beans where it attaches to the plant. Cut into 2 inch pieces. Similarly snap the asparagus where it turns woodsy, cut into 2 inch pieces. For a fancy look cut the beans and asparagus at an angle.
In a large bowl, prepare the dressing by whisking all the ingredients mentioned above. Set aside.
Heat 5 cups of water in a wide sauce pan. Bring to a brisk boil, and salt generously. Boil the potatoes for 10 minutes or until it is fork tender. Strain with a slotted spoon, and add to the dressing. To the same water, add the beans and let it blanch for 3 minutes. Add asparagus along with the beans and blanch for additional 3 minutes. Drain both and add to the potatoes and dressing.
Core and quarter the bell peppers. If the sauce pan is wider, use it for searing bell peppers as well, like I always do. Otherwise, heat a skillet over high flame, spray with olive oil, and sear the peppers on high heat for about 3 minutes. Once they have blistered spots, sprinkle some salt, remove and let cool. When they are cool enough to handle, cut into ¼ inch wide strips and add to the salad bowl. Quarter the tomatoes, remove the seeds as they make the salad watery. Cut them as thick as bell peppers and add to the rest of the ingredients. Toss everything together until the dressing is evenly coated.
The salad tastes great warm or at room temperature. Serve with soup, quiche, or even pizza. Goes well with almost anything. Or make a light meal by serving with a chunk of crusty bread.