Elevate Your Summer Meals with Deliciously Crunchy and Flavourful Salads

Now that the days are getting longer and temperatures are rising, it’s the perfect time to gather outdoors with friends and family. This time of year calls for light dishes to match the warm weather, and salads are the perfect complement to grilled fish or meat, or can even serve as a refreshing main course. In this article, you’ll learn how to create salads with a little more bite using roasted sweet potatoes or squash, and how to make a truly sensational salad with six flavours and different textures.

Roasted Sweet Potato or Pumpkin: Adding Bite and Structure to Your Salad

If you want to give your salads a little more bite, roasted sweet potatoes or squash are a fantastic addition. Cut them into small cubes, about 1 cm, and mix them with olive oil and your favourite herbs. For example, use vadouvan herbs, curry madras or even the oriental flavour of ras el hanout. Bake them for 15 to 20 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius, tossing them halfway through for extra crispiness. Let them cool a bit before mixing them into your salad along with fresh tomatoes, red onions or scallions.


Special La Sobremesa Salad Tips for Elevated Flavour:

To take your salad to the next level, try incorporating the following two special tips:

Make the six taste sensations your own:

Create a dressing or use ingredients that cover all six taste sensations to create a harmonious taste experience:

  • Sweet: Add honey, syrup, sugar (white or brown), figs, dates, Sherry Oloroso or even a drop of Baileys or Licor43.
  • Sour: Experiment with different vinegars, lemon, lime, pickled onions or pepino and sumac, a fruit well known in the Middle East. Sumac imparts a fresh and tangy lemon flavour that pairs well with a variety of dishes.
  • Salty: boost the savoury profile with coarse sea salt, truffle salt, anchovies, sea fennel or other salty elements.
  • Bitter: use grapefruit, herbal bitters, beer, chicory, endive or fermented products such as kimchi or kombucha.
  • Spicy: Give a kick to pepper, chilli, ginger, chilli flakes, sambal, horseradish, wasabi or mustard.
  • Umami: Bring umami flavours with cheese, soy sauce, sweet soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, miso, fish sauce, fried onions, truffles or other ingredients known for their savoury taste.

Playing with texture:

To create an exciting contrast between the textures of your salad, incorporate crunchy elements alongside softer components. You can add nuts, seeds, croutons, crispy onions, bacon, freeze-dried fruit or biscuit crumbs. These ingredients not only add crunch, but can also add sweetness, especially if you use biscuit crumbs.

East meets West: tahini dressing for an exquisite, nutty flavour:

If you like to mix Eastern and Western flavours, using tahini in your dressing is a fantastic choice. Tahini adds a nutty and slightly bitter flavour to salads that complements them beautifully. It’s quite easy to make your own tahini. Lightly toast the sesame seeds in a dry, hot pan, then grind them in a food processor with a sharp knife for 3-5 minutes until you have a smooth paste. The sesame seeds release oil, but you can add a little olive oil to make the paste even smoother. Shop the tahini in a sealed jar with a layer of oil, it will stay fresh for up to six months.

Now that the summer season is in full swing, it’s time to explore the world of refreshing and tasty salads. With roasted sweet potatoes or squash, six different flavours, varied textures and a nutty tahini dressing, you can take your salads to new heights. Try the suggested recipe for a delicious salad that combines the best of summer produce with a delicious miso sesame dressing. Get ready to impress your friends and family with these delicious and filling salads that are perfect for warm summer evenings. Buen provecho!

Carola Smits, the founder of La Sobremesa, brings you this exclusive section.

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Location: Rada de Moraira, Alicante – Spain

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