Italian-inspired summer salad

I know it’s now autumn, so this recipe maybe isn’t as seasonal as it should be, but if you’re anything like me then I’m thinking you probably want to hold onto the summer months as much as possible. Plus, this was something I made for the first time in August…

But it’s not like it uses ingredients that you can only find in summer! So go on, extend those sunny days with this fresh and yummy salad.

Serves 4-5

Ingredients

  • 1 packet of pea shoots, baby spinach and rocket salad leaves
  • 2 large red Padron peppers (because they’re extra sweet)
  • 1 ciabatta loaf
  • Parmesan
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • a few sprigs of fresh rosemary (optional)

Method

If you have a gas stove, you can cook the peppers by holding them next to the flame and rotating every so often to create lovely blackened, caramelised areas. However, this is time consuming and wastes a fair bit of gas. So an easy method is to put the peppers, whole and without any oil, on to a baking tray and put in the oven until soft and slightly charred. For this, preheat the oven to about 180C – 200C. Leave to cook for 8-10 minutes, checking after 5 minutes.

Rip the ciabatta into chunks. Place on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and add the sprigs of rosemary (if using). Make sure the oil has made it onto all the pieces. Add to the oven.

Once the peppers are out of the oven, move the ciabatta croutons to the top shelf and turn your oven to grill setting. Keeping a close eye on them to make sure they don’t burn, grill the croutons until crunchy round the edges and turning golden brown.

The peppers should have cooled a bit in the meantime (the above step may take up all your concentration so it might be a good idea to focus on that solely). Tear up the pepper and combine with the salad leaves in a large bowl.

Drizzle the salad and peppers with the red wine vinegar, some olive oil and season to taste. Once the croutons have cooled a little, add them to the mixture too.

Grate over as much parmesan you like – and enjoy!

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