“Because sometimes the Summer just says ‘Please… not another Stew’…”
Here is a salad recipe, and don’t roll your eyes. I always get sketchy when I conjure the nerve to write a salad recipe because what you’re essentially doing is telling somebody how to assemble something. But the weather has been so amazing lately – guaranteed it’s raining on the day this is published – and for as much as my body will always tell me it need soupy stews and carbohydrates, sometimes the song of a salad is too hard not to succumb to.
This salad came to me in a stroke of vanity before it ever did nutrition. The fruit and vegetable seller outside my office had some amazing radishes placed next to his spring onions and I lost myself in some kind of poetic, gastronomic ‘flouncing around the town with a basket of vegetables’ moment where I just wanted to have something pink and green on my plate that night. Then I remembered that I had a crocodile skinned avocado ripening on my windowsill so I let fate do the rest.
Originally this recipe was going to have nothing but the sharp whisper of lemon juice and olive oil drizzled over it, but I suddenly felt that the buttery body of avocado and the peppery crunch of radish could use not only some tiny nuggets of nuttiness but also that a Japanese flecked sauce would really make the colours of the salad dance. Enough with the poetry – who do I think I am? Let’s just fix up a summer salad, shall we?
In a small jug, combine a shot glass of soy sauce, a quick drizzle of fish sauce (omit of vegetarian) and a tablespoon of toasted sesame oil. Grate in a little lime zest before squeezing in the juice of half of it, along with some grated fresh ginger. Finely chop the green ends of two spring onions and add to the jug before stirring everything with a spoon and sitting to one side.
Place a small frying pan – why did I say small? Any frying pan will do but I used a small one – and turn up the heat. Once hot, add a scattering of sesame seeds and shake the pan lightly so that the sesame seeds can toast up and release a fragrant nutty scent. Leave to one side.
Arrange some designer leaves on a plate and add some finely sliced radishes. Slice up the remaining white half of the spring onions before tossing over too. Halve your avocado, remove the big pip, and using a spoon, generously scrape out the green flesh and splatter over the leaves at your own pleasure.
SIDE NOTE – I only used one half of the avocado because this salad was only for one (what a sad, sad sentence) but I scooped the remaining avocado flesh into a bowl, added some lime juice, coriander and salt and mashed it all up and ate it as a lowkey guacamole.
Spoon over as much of the Japanese dressing as you require, ensuring you coat all of the fleshy green avocado meat with the spiky dressing. Finally, scatter over the sesame seeds for a final crunch to every mouthful.
There is no rhyme or reason to this recipe other than it being utterly delicious, intensely satisfying and also surprisingly healthy, in a ‘healthy but not even trying’ kind of way. The only reservation I have is that you must eat it quickly otherwise the avocado can turn brown. But then again any recipe that encourages quick consumption is fine with me. If there’s a way to exercise my laziness and my gluttony, I will not only find it but present it to you. This is a promise.