Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about transitions. The road to change from one way of doing things to another……from one stage of life to another……or from one way of thinking to another.
I have long known something about myself, which is that I am not comfortable with comfortable. It seems that as soon as things start ‘chugging along’, a strange restlessness stirs inside me and I feel the need to stir things up. It may just be in the smallest possible way…….a new hobby……a stimulating challenge at work……new friends. Just something to feel like I’m evolving, changing or somehow transitioning.
It may be that I’m just one of those beings who is never quite satisfied with things the way they are. Or perhaps I am happiest in a state of flux. Whatever it is, when I recognised and embraced this aspect of myself a few years ago, I found my life became just that little bit easier.
My current transition is health based, a change in the interest of wellness. A change I should have made a long time ago and yet, never thought I could until now. More on that soon but I will say that I really am quite chuffed with myself so far.
And this salad? Well, I like to think of it as a transition between summer and winter. An autumn salad, if you will. Light enough for summer but served warm as a side dish to winter comfort food, it ticks many a box and is healthful to boot. A little smokey, a tad sweet and with the kick of citrus, yet subtle enough to play co-star to a main meal. It is inspired by a recipe in that gorgeous book Plenty, by Yotam Ottolenghi, which I have finally managed to get my eager little paws on.
Zucchini, Carrot and Fennel salad
Inspired by a Yotam Ottolenghi recipe.
4 Zucchinis, sliced diagonally into 5mm slices
1 large carrot, shaved using a peeler
1/2 bulb fennel, shaved or thinly sliced
2 tbsp pine nuts
Small handful flat-leaf parsely, leaves torn
A few fennel fronds
For the Dressing:
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp orange juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp walnut oil or olive oil
Heat a frypan (preferably a griddle pan) and drizzle a little oil onto it. When the oil is hot, fry the zucchini slices on a medium heat until par-cooked and slightly caramelised. You may have to fry the zucchini in 2 batches. Place all the salad ingredients except for the pine nuts, fennel fronds and feta in a bowl.
In the same frypan, toast the pine nuts until they are nicely browned- careful as they burn quickly!
Ina small bowl, mix together the orange juice, lemon juice and salt until the salt is dissolved as much as possible. Add the walnut oil and stir. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss gently.
Top with pine nuts, crumbled feta and fennel fronds just before serving.
Toasted hazelnuts would also work beautifully in this instead of pine nuts.