The best way to differentiate your salad selection is by grouping of veggies and the one overpowering flavour in the dressing. This taken care of will mean you will have different tasting salad every time. I love combining raw and cooked elements in a salad so that there is a sense of satisfaction, cold, raw foods rarely satiate, which is why Sushi is still a starter in so many meals. Try grills with salad vegetables or roasted meats with greens, add a twist to the dressing by upping the mustard or going Asian with fish sauce and sesame oil. This particular salad is inspired by Arab food and their love of grills and roquette leaves. I wanted to keep it vegetarian, though grilled lamb steaks would be great in a prep like this.
A bunch of fresh Roquette Leaves, try and use small, young ones, they're less potent but haven't turned bitter yet
4-5 Garlic cloves
2 tbsp Olive Oil
1 tbsp EVOO
2 tbsp Mustard, you can use Dijon too but we prefer the grainy one, it has a deeper flavour
1 tbsp Honey
1 tsp Sumac powder
1 tbsp Zaa'tar, this optional, its a mix of dried Arab greens, you can use a mix of parsley, thyme and oregano instead
1/4 cup Pine Nuts, you can lightly roast them if you don't like them soft, just 10 mins in a hot oven, on 140C
2 tbsp Goat Cheese
Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper, both work best for grills and salads.
1 large Red Onion, cut into 1/4" thick slices
1 medium round Aubergine, cut into 1/4" thick slices
1 each of Red and Yellow Bell Peppers, cut into strips of the same thickness as other veggies for the grill
Oil a grilling tray for the veggies. Baste the grilling veggies with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and grill at 180C till soft and lightly charring, about 20 minutes. The aubergines will soak oil and they need to so add a few extra drops to those slices. Halfway through oven grilling, add the whole garlic cloves. While this is happening, prep the dressing. Mix together the EVOO, honey, and mustard, blend is with a small whisk, now add the sumac powder, which mimics lemon but with a berry undertone, fruity in a way. Don't season the dressing, add the sea salt and pepper when you finish the salad. Once the veggies are grilled, cool slightly and arrange in two bowls, tops with fresh roquette leaves, dribble dressing over the salad and sprinkle a generous dose of pine nuts. Season with zaa'tar, sea salt and fresh pepper, top with the goat cheese and serve immediately. This salad makes for an excellent side dish with grilled meats or BBQ's. Try it with a rusk slathered with goat cheese and add the missing carbs... enjoy!