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Book review – Savour: Salads for all Seasons

26 April 2016
Book review – Savour: Salads for all Seasons

By Peter Gordon

Jacqui Small, £25

Peter Gordon was one of the pioneers of fusion cooking in London in the 1990s. He still has superb restaurants, including the Providores and Tapa Room in London's Marylebone.

This book centres on salads, which appear to be his main joy. Every type is here, from side salads through to starters to main-course salads, with the ingredients varying from the obvious leaves and grains through to cheese, fish, poultry and meat.

Influences are global and the cover has an approving quote from Yotam Ottolenghi, the maestro of Middle Eastern food. It is not just Little Gem, Lollo Rossa and tomatoes that's on offer.

I've always wondered just what defines a salad and have come to the conclusion that any mixture of ingredients that has been tossed in a dressing will qualify. You can ignore fruit salads and the like as extensions of the word's meaning in the same way as ‘cocktail', when dealing with prawns, mayo and lettuce, is a salad by anyone's definition.

Here, veggie confections are not always as simple as you might think. A green salad has edamame beans, peas, courgettes and cucumber with mint, basil and parsley, all dressed in olive oil and lemon. Red salad has red peppers, radicchio and chilli with pomegranate and sesame seeds. Both are real eye-openers to what's possible within the standard menu repertoire.

The main-course dishes range from chilli chocolate teriyaki mackerel with samphire, Jersey Royals and orange (it looks and eats a lot simpler than it sounds), to beef carpaccio, blackened green tomatoes, peppers, crispy ginger, Sichuan chilli oil and crispy garlic.

The most useful section is the final chapter on dressings. How about sherry vinegar and pomegranate molasses, or caper, yogurt, argan oil and citrus?

By Shaun Hill, chef-proprietor, the Walnut Tree, Llanddewi Skirrid, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire

If you like this, you may enjoy these

  • Plenty Yotam Ottolenghi

  • Simply Asian Neil Perry

  • Sirocco - Fabulous Flavours from the Middle East Sabrina Ghayour

Recipe: Crusty baked wasabi mushrooms, spinach, tomato, orange, dill and grated egg >>

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