Salads are always a perfect luncheon dish, or equally a great starter to a main course. They’re ready in minutes and are packed full of nutrition. They also contribute to your ‘5 a day’; which is always welcome.
The key to a good salad is the dressing. Things like vinaigrette or Caesar-dressing are delicious, but they can be time consuming. To remedy this, I thought I’d share with you the world’s easiest ‘quick fix’ recipe – pesto dressing! I use it when I’m pushed for time, or have run out of more complex ingredients for other things. Or equally, just whenever I fancy it – it tastes wonderful!
Making this couldn’t be simpler. Put a large dessert-spoonful of jarred pesto into a small mixing-bowl. Slowly stir in olive oil with a spoon until the mixture is sufficiently runny to ‘drizzle’ off the lifted spoon. If it falls in clumps, you need more oil. Hey presto! That’s it. It makes a perfect accompaniment to so many salads, fish, cooked-meats, chicken, cheese… the choice is endless.
For this particular dish I’ve chosen smoked ham, Emmental & avocado, which is a delicious combination. Spread your salad leaves in the bottom of a large bowl and sprinkle over a generous helping of finely sliced ham. De-stone your avocado and arrange this is the centre, then shave over a good quantity of parmesan. Avocado always needs something salty, so any hard Italian cheese is the perfect thing to pair it with.
To provide a little substance and texture, I’ve also added diced Emmental. Emmental is one of those cheeses with a dense, resistant ‘bite’ and mild nutty taste. It’s great for salads because it’s easy to chop (unlike crumbly or soft cheeses) and it doesn’t war with the other flavours. A salad that tastes of only one thing, must be considered a disappointment in the extreme and reflects a poor choice of ingredients.
Strew your diced cheese all around, then spoon over your dressing. To compliment the pesto, scatter over finely chopped basil and season with salt and pepper to finish. I’ve also added sliced scotch-bonnet chillies to give things a kick! But these are entirely a matter of preference, and can be omitted if they’re not your thing!
All that remains is to get stuck in! So don’t delay.
Thanks for reading and bon ap!