Fresh Home-made Salad

I'm not exactly known for regularly sharing recipes of my culinary adventures on this blog, in part because I never really stick to a recipe. I have a look around the supermarket, buy what I like, check what I have at home and then I go a bit crazy in terms of mixing things together. The other day I made a stuffing and soy bean mix with a splash of soy sauce and it tasted pretty awesome.

If you give me a cook book, I guarantee it won't ever be used. Well... I might spend some time looking at all the pretty pictures and if I'm in a really good mood I may even give the one or other recipe a try but it could take up to two years or longer for that miracle to happen. On the other hand, it only took a few weeks before I tried MaryAnne's (of Wok With Me, Baby) recipe to bake my own bread. Now that I mentioned it, I'd really love to try and bake some bread again but I doubt I'll have the time or energy to do just that what with moving countries and all.

Anywho... If you follow my Instagram feed it may or may not have come to your attention that I've been eating a lot of salad lately. In fact I have one every day for lunch. We have a fantastic canteen in work and there's a salad bar there too but I just prefer making my own. I've had enough time to perfect the recipe, although I do admit when it comes to salad there's not really much of a recipe to follow. The most important thing is to buy loads of vegetables, cut them up, toss them all into a bowl, mix it all up and then all you need to do is indulge.


Hungry?

Growing up in Germany, my mum made a fresh salad almost everyday. Sometimes even twice a day. During the summer we definitely had salad every day. It's just too hot and too humid to cook and a big bowl of salad and home-made lemonade (water, lemons and oranges, no sugar) is still the best meal one can eat when it's hot outside. My mum would make the salad in the morning and then leave in in the fridge for a couple of hours. That way the flavours were so much more distinctive and the salad was also cool and refreshing.

In the eight years I've spend in Ireland I devoted very little time to making salad which is a real pity but I think I made up for it in the last two and a half months. So without further ado, I'm going to share the recipe for the salad I make every day and I'll also give you a couple of tips of how you can change things around a little.

I affectionately call this salad "Bauernsalat", in English that would be a farmer's salad. All the stuff I use grows in the vegetable section of your average farm. It's a plain salad without fancy ingredients, something people growing up in the German countryside may have prepared for themselves. I've added a few more exotic ingredients but if you don't like them, just ignore them.


Ingredients:

  • iceberg salad
  • cucumber
  • tomatoes
  • sweet pepper, red
  • pickled gherkins
  • green/black olives
  • Frankfurters
  • olive oil
  • Kr√§utersalz (seasoned salt)
  • fresh chives


How to make the salad:

1) Wash everything.
2) Cut it all the vegetables and the sausage up.
3) Toss everything into a salad bowl.
4) Add the olive oil.
5) Add the seasoned salt.
6) Stir.
7) Leave for an hour or so for the flavours to intensify. Whenever I make my salad for work, I make it the night before and leave it in the fridge until I bring it to work with me. That way the flavours really have time to intensify.
8) Serve and eat.



Tips:

  • If you can't find large sweet red peppers, use our average peppers. Stay away from the green ones, they don't taste too good in salad. Yellow or orange ones are too sweet (my opinion) but the red ones are just perfect.
  • If you don't like pickled gherkins, just forget about them.
  • If you don't like green olives use black ones. If you like both, use both. If you don't like either, just forget about them.
  • Frankfurters are a type of German pork sausages. You don't need to go crazy looking for them, if you can't get your hands on them, just use cooked ham and cut it into small pieces. If you don't eat pork, use cooked chicken and cut it up into fine pieces. If you are vegetarian, try flavoured tofu, it adds an amazing and distinctive flavour.
  • If you like cheese you could try goat's cheese or your average Emmental or Gouda.
  • I use extra virgin olive oil.
  • If you can't get your hands on seasoned salt, there are a couple of recipes floating around the internet on how to make it yourself but as of yet I haven't found a good one with a decent list of herbs to be used. Instructions that tell me to buy a mix of herbs and add some salt to it do not qualify as a recipe for home-made seasoned salt in my book. As soon as I can find a decent list of herbs for your average seasoned salt mix (there are about a ton of variations) I will add the link to this post. If you really have no seasoned salt at your disposal try a mix of herbs and salt. Thyme, parsley, herbs of the Provence, buckrams, chives, yarrow, basil, rosemary, dill, tarragon, coriander, bay, sage and oregano all work, although if you're going to use all these I don't recommend you add herbs of the Provence. If you're too lazy to mix up a little of everything with a bit of salt use a salad herbs mix...
  • Essentially home-made seasoned salt is pretty easy to make. After some investigation I have settled on giving you my very own recipe -- two variations of it. For both you will need coarse-grained sea salt. Variation No 1: Buy the fresh herbs listed above and cut them up nicely, about 300-400 grams of herbs for 100 grams of sea salt. Once the fresh herbs are cut up, mix them with the sea salt and spread the mixture on an oven tray. The salt will try out the herbs but to speed up the process you can put the mixture into the oven and dry it that way. Bottle it up afterwards and voil√† your very own home-made seasoned salt is ready for use. Variation No 2: If you can't/don't want to buy fresh herbs, you can always head to the herbs section of your local supermarket and buy the herbs I listed above. Also buy some coarse-grained sea salt. Add everything together, again more herbs than salt, bottle it up and there you go that's ready to use as well. It's a pretty easy and mostly painless process. If you would prefer to buy some seasoned salt, nourish.ie have it in stock and the kind shop assistant informed me that they ship world-wide, just drop them an email. You can also buy it from the A.Vogel website.
  • A friend asked me to make her a salad but when I gave her the list of ingredients she didn't like about 3/4 of them. If you don't like crunchy, fresh vegetables then this salad is probably not for you - I apologise.

Any questions, feel free to fire them my way. I don't profess to be an expert on salad making but if I can help, I will try to. If you're going to try making this salad, I'd love to hear about it or see a picture.