My colleagues have a pet name for me: the food Nazi. I choose to believe it’s a term of affection born of a deep respect for my superior culinary acumen – and not because I am, perhaps, the fussiest, most derisive eater this side of the equator. (I hear there are soy- and wheat-intolerant vegan monks in Peru who are less pedantic about their food.)
Okay, I’m not that bad. But, well, I like what I like – I’m sure you know what I mean. I really can’t help wrinkling my nose when one of my coworkers opens a white polystyrene package containing something that, to me, can only be likened to roadkill in a bun. Sometimes I just have to leave the room. Is this rude? Is it self-important? (I confess: I really don’t care.)
This is a most agreeable salad – it's not terribly original, but I’d be delighted if one of my colleagues brought it in for lunch. I based it on Jamie Oliver’s Potato Salad with Smoked Salmon and Horseradish Crème Fraiche. I didn’t have any horseradish, though, and I wanted something more appropriate to a balmy summer evening, so I added petit pois (I don’t know why we don’t see them more in salad recipes – they are so sweet and gorgeously green) and loads of salad leaves. I think julienned asparagus would be a nice addition, too. We had a few slices of hot-buttered crusty bread on the side.
Smoked trout salad
Serves two as a main course
350g baby potatoes
120g petit pois
2 tbsp capers, drained
30g dill, chopped
Juice of one lemon
3 tbsp olive oil
3 heaped tbsp mayonnaise (preferably home-made)
200g salad leaves
200g smoked trout ribbons, sliced
Add the baby potatoes to boiling water and cook for 10 minutes, or until almost done. Add the petit pois and cook for an extra 1 to 2 minutes (you want the peas al dente). Drain and run under cold water to cool. Set aside.
In a bowl, combine the capers, dill, lemon juice, olive oil and mayonnaise, and season to taste. Mix in the potatoes and peas.
In a large salad bowl, toss the salad leaves with the poatato mixture, ensuring everything is well coated. Arrange the salmon ribbons on top and serve.
By the way, if you have a little extra time, read this great piece I found on the Guardian website this morning: 'Delia Smith: Why we still love her'.