The glorious days of summer sun are here at last! Those long, lazy summer days and balmy evenings are back and ready for us all to enjoy. So whilst the sun is shining let’s grab a glass of something and sink into the world of summer recipes. Today that happens to be a delicious, but speedy, simple summer salad – it’s the kind of salad that you actually want to eat.
We’ve probably all seen a motivational poster emblazoned with ‘no good story ever started with a salad’, and whilst it’s quite true that it’s not exactly the rock and roll star of the food world, when it’s sunny out a simple salad can be just what you need. There is very little messing about, no arguments about whether that BBQ food is actually fully cooked, and it tastes wonderful. What else do you need?
There are two types of salad though. The limp iceberg lettuce and a couple of cherry tomatoes on top kind – a.k.a. dull, boring and pretty much a waste of everyone’s time – and then this kind of salad. My kind of salad is one that’s bursting with flavour, but is also ridiculously quick to make (because who wants to spend ages in the kitchen when they’d rather be outside?)
The added bonus for this salad is that you’ll see a glass of wine sitting there right alongside it. That’s because I got back from holiday to find that the lovely people at Le Petit Ballon had sent me one of their monthly wine boxes to try. In the box was two bottles of wine (the rosé you see here, plus a red blend of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre that I’m looking forward to), a little wine magazine with more information about the wines and some recipe ideas, and tasting notes for the two bottles. This salad just happens to be a happy coincidence, as the ‘perfect pairing’ for the rosé was grilled chicken in a tomato sauce. Well, this might not be quite that recipe, but a simple summer salad that includes grilled chicken and some roasted tomatoes seemed to fit the bill pretty well as well.
I will fully admit that this is also a total cheat of a salad, because I actually got most of the ingredients pre-prepared, but in the pursuit of eating healthier meals, I think that’s forgivable. It also has the added benefit that this simple summer salad is great for a picnic as you can assemble most of it on the go. If you want to hack it a bit more, then replace the tomatoes with sun-dried ones.
Simple summer salad
This salad is an original summer recipe for The Usual Saucepans, helped along by the lovely people at Le Petit Ballon. When preparing this salad, make sure the chicken and feta are at room temperature – it makes it much more flavoursome. It serves two and is perfect for eating out in the sun.
1 roasted chicken breast (yes, you can use a pre-cooked one)
150g mixed salad leaves (it’s about six big handfuls)
1 large handful of croutons
50g feta (or more, who can resist feta)
½ punnet of cherry tomatoes
1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
2 tsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp rapeseed oil
Heat the oven up to 180ºC.
Chop your tomatoes in half (mine were rugby ball shaped, so I did it along the long edges) and lay them on a tray. Drizzle with the rapeseed oil and season liberally with salt and pepper. Roast for 20-25 minutes or until they shrink and start to colour at the edges.
Wash your salad leaves, lightly dry and fill a bowl with them. Slice your chicken breast and layer it on top of the leaves. Crumble the feta in little chunks all over, then layer on the croutons. Sprinkle over the seeds.
Take the tomatoes out of the oven and scatter them across the bowl. Use the back of a spoon to ensure the oil and tomato juices are well mixed on your tray [note: this only works if your oven trays are really clean!], then lightly drizzle a couple of spoonfuls over the salad.
Serve with a generous glass of wine and enjoy!
This post was created in collaboration with Le Petit Ballon’s UK division, if you have any questions about this, please get in touch.