Friday, 22 November 2013

Kale, mushroom and tomato salad

Summer came along so abruptly. One week I'm all layered up drinking tea and stuck behind my desk till the quiet hours of night. The next week I'm out in shorts and tees, slathering sunscreen on my gradually tanning skin while tramping with friends. What contrast. It certainly is a much welcomed change (apart from the mossies that come with it). After so many weeks of sitting (I kid you not. Uni does that to you), it feels so good to be out running around in the sun. In the past week I had mild insomnia, my mind wouldn't stop racing about what to do about my future and my body clock would wake me up at 8.30 in the morning no matter how late I sleep. But today, after a full day's worth of walking and climbing, at just 9pm I'm feeling exhausted. Of course I can't wait for a satisfying night's sleep but I shall share with you this deliciously simple salad! It's perfect for the weather Auckland is currently experiencing. But for those on the other half of the hemisphere, it'll go fantastically with a warm creamy bowl of soup.

True to my style of cooking, it really is use-whatever-you-have-in-your-fridge. For this salad, I combined the brilliantly green kale with earthy mushrooms, silverbeet, raw and cooked tomatoes and croutons. It's sort of inspired by Jamie Oliver's tomato salad that he made on 30 Minute Meal. Unfortunately in Auckland you can't get all those fancy tomatoes! Nonetheless, it still tastes delicious with that drizzle of olive oil, lemon and parmessan. Use this 'recipe' as a 'template' and turn those leftover veg in your vege drawer into a healthy lunch!

Kale, Mushroom and Tomato Salad

Serves 3 

4 thick slices of bread, broken into bite size pieces
3 leaves of kale, washed and chopped into 2cm strips
1 leaf of silverbeet, washed and chopped into 2cm strips
3 tomatoes, washed and chopped into 1-2cm cubes
6 medium sized button mushrooms, cut into quarters or sixes
Handful of oregano, chopped
Handful of grated parmessan
Olive oil
Zest of half a lemon
Juice of half a lemon
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Coat the bread in olive oil and toast in oven until crunchy, about 10 minutes on 180C. You may add some garlic to perfume your croutons. 
2. Toss mushrooms in olive oil and fry until golden and shrunken. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside in a large bowl.
3. Wilt kale and silverbeet in the same pan used to fry mushroom. Place into the bowl containing mushrooms. 
4. Take half of the chopped up tomatoes and soften in pan with olive oil and oregano. The tomatoes will turn into mush and the flavours will intensify. This will act like a sauce for the salad. Add to the large bowl.
5. Add in the lemon zest and croutons and drizzle in some olive oil. Season and toss to mix well. 
6. Serve as is or with a warm bowl of soup. 

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