I admit I am not the type of guy who even looks at the salad portion of a menu. I am all about big bold flavours, meat or fish and not feeling hungry after I have eaten. Perhaps I have been stuck in the dark ages as the book Savage Salads by Davide Del Gatto and Kristina Gustafsson has changed my perception. Their salads are creative, flavoursome and filling using a variety of grains and designed to be topped with meat or fish. I will certainly be paying a visit to their food stall in Soho London the next time I have an opportunity.
This book has been a revelation to me and truly opened my eyes to interesting flavour combos I had not considered and being arranged by the season is very easy to refer too. Davide and Kristina hail from Italy and Sweden and met whilst working in a restaurant. They soon realised that they shared the same dream of owning their own food business so launched their healthier eating stall in competition to the burger and rib joints.
As we are in June I will write about the summer recipes so in keeping with their seasonality. Summer is one of the best times of year to make salads with so many fruits and vegetables being in season and with a vast array of colours. They all look so enticing and actively encourage you to veer away from the heavier dishes that populate menus all year around.
The book is very well produced and I must mention the photography and styling which are exceptional and contemporary.
Onto some of the summer dishes:-
The grilled apricots and peaches, couscous, mint, serrano ham and pine nuts caught my attention. The fruit adding some sweetness but counteracted by the saltiness of the ham with the texture coming from pine nuts. It is all brought together by the mint which just lifts everything to a new level and freshness.
I found the beetroot and gin cured salmon very interesting and although you need to plan it a day or two in advance works really well. I had never cured my own salmon before so learnt how easy this was to actually do. This is a dish that could easily be used as a canapé as well for pre summer dining.
The marinated chicken with artichoke, grilled lemons and red quinoa is super easy to do with a little planning and delicious.
I loved the grilled chorizo, fresh corn, black beans, avocado, coriander, lime and shallots. I love a spicy chorizo and the other ingredients complemented it so well tempering the heat. I also added some new potatoes from Kent and fresh leaves to make this into a wonderful dinner dish.
The grilled poussin, sumac, rocket, chickpeas and pomegranate worked wonderfully. The flavours came together so naturally and the pomegranates countered the sumac perfectly.
The end of the book comprises a selection of accompaniments of which the smoked paprika and lime hummus and Hazelnut and Thyme dressing stood out for me. The former was wonderful with some grilled chicken on ciabatta.
I read a lot of cook books and it takes something very good to get me excited and running to the shops to buy ingredients and this book accomplished that. I just love it!
Images from Savage Salads: Fierce Flavours, Filling Power-Ups by Davide Del Gatto & Kristina Gustafsson, photography by Kim Lightbody. Published by Frances Lincoln (£16.99).