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Dublin: 9°C Monday 25 October 2021

Kitchen Secrets: Readers share their go-to salad combos for a speedy summer meal

From a rocket salad with a citrus hit to the easiest balsamic dressing.

Image: Shutterstock

EVERY HOME COOK has their own kitchen hacks, cheats and traditions, and we want to know yours.

Each week as part of our Kitchen Secrets series, we ask our readers to share their cooking tips and go-to-dishes. From the secret to quick-and-easy dinners, to the best way to scramble an egg, we set a new question every seven days.

With so much great veg and green leaves in season at this time of year, from asparagus to beetroot to rocket, a salad is a no-brainer at mealtimes. While there’s always room for experimentation, it’s handy to have a few go-to combos in mind, for days when you’d rather be outside in the warm weather than thinking about meal planning.

This week, we asked our panel:

What’s your go-to summer salad combo?

For next week, we’re asking readers to how to BBQ the perfect burger. What’s the key to great meat on the BBQ? Comment below, or email us on food@thejournal.ie – and you could see your response in the magazine!

I love a rocket salad with citrus flavours: My favourite salad is rocket, grilled pineapple, pomegranate seeds, grilled chicken (optional), grapefruit segments and a dressing made from the juice of the remaining grapefruit, maple syrup, black pepper and some olive oil. If the dressing isn’t zesty enough, I add some lemon or lime juice.

- Donna O’Shaughnessy 

shutterstock_1132138187 Source: Shutterstock

You can’t beat a warm chicken salad – the key is the dressing: For this I use balsamic vinegar, olive oil, dijon mustard, garlic salt, a tiny bit of regular salt and some ground black pepper. Pan fry some seasoned diced chicken breast, and while that is cooking, mix together some torn mixed lettuce leaves (plenty of iceberg), finely chopped spring onion, grated carrot and cherry tomatoes. Serve the chicken on a bed of salad and add generous amounts of the dressing. 

- Olly Keegan

Strawberries, tomato, avo and asparagus (trust me): My favourite summer salad combines equal parts halved strawberries, halved cherry tomatoes, and asparagus (par-boiled for 30 seconds and rinsed in cold water to stop the cooking process). To that I add avocado, baby mozzarella,  maybe some quinoa to bulk it out, and some balsamic vinegar.

- Fiona Staunton

An Italian caprese is ridiculously simple, provided you have juicy summer tomatoes to hand: Slice the tomatoes and season well with sea salt and pepper, tear up chunks of creamy buffalo mozzarella and layer these over the tomatoes. Scatter over leaves of fresh basil and dress with extra virgin olive oil. Delicious with crusty bread or all by itself.

- Donna Connolly

shutterstock_135082043 Source: Shutterstock

I add pecans to my pear and blue cheese salad: If I have time, I’ll caramelise the pecans with some caster sugar on a baking sheet. I slice the pears (these can be browned in a pan with some butter if you wish), add them to a bunch of salad leaves and crumbled some blue cheese on top. An oil, vinegar and dijon dressing works great here.

- Angie Nolan

More Kitchen Secrets: Readers share their tips for properly great homemade chips>

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