CARAMELISED CELERY, COURGETTE AND PUMPKIN SEEDS WITH MINT, MANCHEGO AND ROCKET
This salad is basically what it says on the tin. A delicious crunchy, munchy, salty salad with the bitter-astringent flavours from the rocket, the sweetness of the caramelised celery and the refreshing properties of mint to make a cooling dish that’s perfect for the summer... and this heatwave!
I started caramelising celery when creating new recipes for my book East by West. Slices of celery sautéed with jaggery and ghee in a hot pan made the most incredible sweet aniseed flavour which became the topping for my “Pitta” inspired salad (page 144), and is perfect in this dish too. Then the rest of the ingredients you just pile on, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and a bit of lime and ta da! The warmth from the hot celery and the salt and acid from the lime starts to soften the raw veggies into something much easier to eat then tough raw salad. Get munching.
For more information about the Pitta balancing flavours of bitter, astringent and sweet, part of the “6 tastes of Ayurveda” read up on page 285 in East by West.
2 medium courgettes, washed and dried
90g/1 bag rocket, washed and dried
4 sticks of celery, sliced
1 tbsp jaggery/maple syrup
100g manchego, grated (or 100g chopped olives)
Handful of fresh mint leaves, rough chopped (save the tips to decorate)
⅓ cup pumpkin seeds
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil and apple cider vinegar
In a large frying pan, gently dry-toast the pumpkin seeds until golden and starting to pop, then set them aside.
In the same pan, add the ghee, jaggery/maple syrup and celery with a big pinch of salt and pepper and cook on a medium–high heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until coloured. Set aside.
Grate the courgettes into a large bowl. Add the chopped mint, rocket, manchego, olives and caramelised celery and careful toss to combine.
Spoon into serving plates, drizzle with olive oil and the juice of a lime and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds
East by West tip: Also delicious with pecorino (a parmesan-type sheep’s cheese) and parmesan. Or even a creamy freshly made cheese — just add a little more salt. To skip the dairy and make this vegan, swap the manchego with chopped olives.