The age-old question. Is salad a somehow lesser offering, enjoyable mostly for the feeling of virtuousness it creates. Or, is it a delicious adventure worthy of pride of place? In my opinion, the latter. Although I will clarify that I tend to add cheese to mine and as far as I am concerned there is no better way of winning friends than cheese.
One of the best things about salad is that there are no real rules. With a tiny bit of thought, you can produce a tasty, filling meal in about 10 minutes. Below is a salad I came up with on the spot on Sunday. I had got a bit excited about Burrata and asparagus and ended up with a glut of both that needed eaten. I also found a few radishes and a tiny bit of fennel languishing in the back of the salad drawer.
I ate the entire salad myself because, quarantine? At least that is my current excuse, but you could share.
(Or coppa or pancetta
or what you have to hand)
Slice pork loin reasonably thinly if in a whole piece. Slice radishes and fennel to whatever size you like. For the asparagus, I trim the very end of the stalk that tend to be dry, then cut off the tips as these cook faster. The remaining stalk I chop into bite-size pieces. If you find the lower bit of the stalk woody leave out but I quite like it :) Slice the tomatoes. Yeah, prep done.
In a heavy pan gently fry the coppa, once this is frying nicely and the fat looks translucent and melty add the radishes, fennel and asparagus ends if using. Fry gently for a minute or so. The idea is not to 'cook' the vegetables but slightly soften them and let them take on the delicious fat from the pork loin
. If you don't want to use the coppa you could use a tiny bit of butter. The idea is that the vegetables gain a little unctuousness from the fat.
Add the asparagus tips and a tiny splash of water. The tips should cook very quickly in the steam and the water will help form a 'dressing' with the juices. Turn off heat. I added a little lemon juice and pepper, the coppa is salty so you don't need any further seasoning. You could use a dash of vinegar if you prefer it to the lemon juice.
Transfer to a plate, add sliced tomatoes and crown with your delicious Burrata. Enjoy in the garden or beside an open window while imagining you're Nigel Slater :)
I'd love to hear any variations you make and I'm happy to answer any questions so do get in touch. Have a lovely week everyone :)