Spring is here! Nothing can possible spoil my mood, especially not now that spring salads are on the menu. The air is warmer, the birds are singing, the buds are blooming. It’s a whole changing landscape and it’s beautiful. The snow is gradually melting away, with now only the very shady, sheltered parts of the landscape still showing the marks of winter. The rivers are still frozen on the edges, but they, along with the sea nearby, are now thawing out for the most part. I can go outside to see brilliantly blue skies, much like this.
Fluffy, wispy clouds hang in the air – it’s a good time to be alive.
The stores are getting a whole bunch of new things. For the things they already had, the prices are tumbling. I saw strawberries the other day for about 7 SEK a pack. That’s about $1. That’s not what I’m interested in though. What I’m after is the veg. Fresh, green asparagus, huge bags of rosy red radishes, new potatoes, plump red bell peppers, green beans, lettuces and other salad leaves, like baby red swiss chard… all going for great prices. No, it’s not locally produced, but that would be pretty hard up here, since you still can’t really grow anything at this time of year. And so my produce probably comes from about four different countries and is about as far from environmentally-friendly as you can get, but allow me this small pleasure after this winter!
I saw all these beautiful things and I knew what I wanted to make. What else, but a spring salad? I really wanted everything to shine, and I didn’t want to go nuts with a dressing either. I wanted the gorgeous colours and individual flavours to smack you on the tongue when you eat it, so I opted for a very simple drizzle of oil and a generous squeeze of lemon juice to tie it all together.
I do love my sauces though, and after going out for a pizza with my wife the other day which had seafood and smoked aioli on top (seriously… it was very good!) I’ve been hankering after some more aioli ever since, so I figured I’d serve some up with this. It was so good – as someone who’s really obsessed with halloumi cheese as well, that was just the proverbial icing on the cake.
One fantastic meal – and vegetarian to boot!
Enjoy everyone! I’ll be back soon.
Spring Salad with Asparagus, Halloumi, and Homemade Aioli
For the salad2 Red Peppers
- 600 g New Potatoes
- 300 g Halloumi
- 250 g Asparagus
- 200 g fresh Green Beans
- 200 g Radishes
- 100 g Baby Chard
- 1 Red Onion
- 4 tsps Sunflower / Canola Oil
- 1 tsp Flaked / Kosher salt
For the salad dressingJuice from one Lemon
- 3 tbsps Olive Oil
- 2 tsps freshly ground Black Pepper
For the Aioli1 Egg Yolk
- 2 cloves of Garlic minced
- Juice from half a Lemon
- 1 tsp Salt
- ~200ml Sunflower or Canola oil
- Start off by making the aioli - Add the minced garlic, lemon juice and salt into a large bowl with the egg yolk and whisk together well. Drizzle in the oil very slowly, whisking vigorously all the time until the aioli reaches a good thick consistency. You may need to add a bit more, or less oil.
- Next, place the red peppers under a hot grill or broiler for about 10 minutes, turning regularly until the skin is blackened and charred. Remove from the grill and set aside to allow to cool.
- Place the potatoes on to boil in a large, covered pot of water. While they're boiling, heat 2 of the 4 teaspoons of oil in a large frying pan on the stove. Cut the halloumi into good chunks and then fry them in the hot oil on both sides until golden brown.
- Set the cooked potatoes and halloumi aside and then heat the remaining 2tsps of oil in the frying pan. Cut off the woody parts from the asparagus stalks, and slice the spears at an angle. Trim the ends from the green beans and then fry them for a couple of minutes. Add in a drizzle of the lemon juice for the salad dressing and continue frying for another 30 seconds or so before removing. Place the asparagus and green beans into a large salad serving bowl.
- Quarter the potatoes and add into the salad bowl along with the halloumi. Wash the chard and radishes. Chop the radishes into quarters and add into the salad bowl as well, before peeling the red onion, slicing finely and adding to the salad bowl.
- Peel away the skin from the red peppers and remove the seeds and stalk. Slice the flesh into long strips and add into the salad bowl.
- Drizzle over the olive oil for the dressing and add the lemon juice. Finally, sprinkle over the black pepper and salt for the salad. Mix everything together well with your hands, massaging the oil and lemon juice into the salad ingredients.
- Serve immediately along with the aioli, and preferably a nice piece of fresh bread.