The good stuff. Time to get out the salad greens…
It was a proper summery type day (yes, mid-spring) yesterday, where it burnt if you were outside in black and the beach was warm enough for boys to walk around topless (possibly one thing I might like about global warming). New Brighton was nicely packed, the fish’n’chip place got our order slightly wrong, we wave jumped fully clothed (it began as innocent ankle-dipping for me, but a soaked white cotton t-shirt later, I couldn’t deny it wasn’t the day to be cautious). Yes, it was a brilliant day to hail summer in. For tea then, a proper salad with in-season greens would be the perfect end to what had been a busy summery day for me (potting tomato plants, making my own butter, pancakes, general faffing).
Of course, I also wanted something cheese-laden, so I used up the last of the buttermilk to make a healthy amount of buttermilk parmesan potatoes. Served up with some fresh bread (featuring home made spring onion butter) and a watercress salad, it was the best summer dinner I’ve had (…ok, since last summer…there was some damn good meals going on back then too). Dressing up the salad was a nice zingy lemon and parsley yoghurt dressing, drizzled with flax oil (but extra virgin olive would be good too), which tempered the pepperyness of the watercress a bit. For good measure I steamed up some fresh asparagus I’d just bought (there are some gorgeous ones on sale at Full Season at church corner, see links to the right), just so I could use more fresh butter.
Watercress cucumber salad with zingy yoghurt dressing
2 handfuls of watercress, especially the younger bits at the top. get watercress at Full Season vege market at church corner for $1.50 for a ridiculously large bunch.
1/2 carrot, julienned (cut into think matchsticks, or failing that, grated)
3″ off a telegraph cucumber, shaved with a peeler or cut really thin down the seeds
1/3-1/2c natural unsweetened yoghurt (I use Karikaas)
zest of one lemon (don’t get the rind in, unless you want a bitter dressing)
a few sprigs of flat parsley (or curly), chopped finely (any fresh herb will do though)
pinch of salt and fresh black pepper
extra virgin olive oil (or basically, your best stuff!)
Toss veges together in a bowl. Mix dressing ingredients (except oil) in a small cup and pour over salad, then drizzle over extra virgin olive oil. Serve (this salad would go well with these spicy lime toasted pumpkin seeds)
Note: if your watercress looks a bit grumpy (it can do that after an hour in hot weather), give it a gentle wash in cold water and leave in a colander or bowl for 10 minutes to revive it while chopping other ingredients.
Buttermilk Parmesan Potatoes
3-4 potatoes, sliced very thinly
1/2 c buttermilk
20-30g parmesan cheese
salt & pepper
Preheat oven to 200C or 400F. Arrange potatoes on a roasting dish to cover the bottom in a single layer, letting the slices overlap a little. Pour over buttermilk, then finely grate over half the normal cheese and parmesan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and repeat so that you get only 2-3 layers (you want cheese between the layers to cook the potatoes well. Throw in the oven on top rack (important) for about 30-40mins until the top is properly golden, and the potatoes let a fork slide into them easily.