Spring has sprung

Grilled Pineapple, pickled baby Fennel and Biltong salad

Fruit seems to be making an appearance in salads again, fantastic!

Now that is is officially spring here in Cape Town, I shall be happily ploughing my way through my salad recipes.
There is nothing like quick, fresh and crisp to make you feel like you can take on the world.

I got an sms from a good friend of mine on a blustery Saturday morning. She had recently taken a part time job selling fruit and nuts at my local Food Market.
She was at the Tokai market and since it was just around the corner she invited me to pop by.
I LOVE food markets. I love them so much, I actually avoid them. I will spend silly amounts of money, come home with obscure jams and jellies, take a few tastes of them, and leave them to sit at the back of the fridge.
This is not good.
So my plan is to take only an amount of money which I can afford, and spend only that.
It works out well, but its tricky as obscure food items generally aren't cheap.

My treasures were:
Dried organic pineapple from By Nature (SO moreish, AND guilt free snacking as sugar and preservative free).
Aubergine relish from Oded's Kitchen (love love love).
Biltong from the stall near the entrance (we ate most of it in 20 minutes, so I didn't catch the name).
A spring roll (because its spring).

I made this salad that day, and we had a picnic in the front yard.
It was a simple affair, pasta with bacon and arribbiata sauce,
fresh white bread with hummus and aubergine relish, and a quick simple salad with biltong, fennel and pineapple.
The first time I made this salad was using grilled nectarines. They add a lovely tartness to the overall flavour, but the pineapple is so juicy, and becomes sweet with the grilling, that I think I favour it rather.

Grilled Pineapple, pickled baby Fennel and Biltong salad
Serves 4

For the salad:
100 g salad leaves
1/3 cucumber
50 g baby tomatoes, halved,
Half a red onion, sliced
1 spring onion, chopped
100 g biltong, spicy or plain

For the pickled fennel:
60 ml apple cider vinegar
40 ml water
2 Tbsp sugar
2 ml salt
100 g (2 baby) fresh fennel bulbs

For the grilled pineapple:
1 small pineapple, peeled and sliced
40 ml Balsamic vinegar
20 ml water
2 Tbsp sugar

Wash all the salad veg, and cut/slice accordingly.
Assemble the salad ingredients onto a platter.
Heat a griddle pan on the stove.

Peel and slice the pineapple and cut into halves.
Mix the pickle ingredients together, wash and thinly slice the fennel bulbs and add to the pickle liquid.

The griddle pan should be smoking hot, layer the pineapple in the pan, and grill to give it the criss cross lines, turn over and grill the other side.

Remove the pan from the heat.

Mix the water, balsamic vinegar and sugar together, pour into the pan, and wait to thicken.

Layer biltong on the top of the salad.

Strain the fennel and add to the salad, layer the grilled pineapple around the salad and drizzle the balsamic glaze over the salad.

Serve immediately.

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