© David Loftus
Crunchy allotment salad
I adore this recipe. It transforms vegetables that some people might consider boring into something exciting, crunchy and stylish. It will complement almost anything, whether you have it with roast chicken, a beef burger or between slices of crusty bread with nice cheese. There are no rules – basically any crunchy colorful veg will work – so try all colors of beets and carrots, radishes, daikon, celery root, kohlrabi, fennel, baby zucchini, cucumber … a gesture of fruit like apples or pears will rock too – just mix it up, baby!
Peel and trim vegetables such as beets and carrots, then slice everything thinly, or just do what
I do and whack them through a food processor with a thin slicing attachment (it’s so easy, why
wouldn’t you?). There’s no right or wrong way, you just want to make everything delicious to eat. If the tops of your radishes are nice and small, feel free to leave them on.
Put all the prepped veg into a bowl, add a really good pinch of salt and pepper and the cider vinegar, and toss everything together about five or six times over a 10-minute period. This is a light pickle-style dressing that will amplify the wonderful natural flavors of the vegetables. You can either serve the salad straight away, or pop it into the fridge until needed.
Before serving, finely chop or slice the leaves of your soft herbs and add them to the bowl with a good lug or two of extra virgin olive oil. Give everything one last toss, then have a taste to check the seasoning. Use your fingers and thumbs like a basket to pick it all up and pile it on a plate. Drizzle over a little more extra virgin olive oil and serve.
• 1 beet
• 1 carrot
• 1 bulb of fennel
• 1/4 of a cucumber
• a small bunch of radishes, or other crunchy veg
• sea salt and ground pepper
• 4 tablespoons cider vinegar
• a handful of mixed fresh soft herbs, such as mint, tarragon, flat-leaf parsley and basil, leaves picked
• extra virgin olive oil