Winter Market Salad
This winter in Sydney hasn’t been cold enough to render bare those deciduous aliens which line our English avenues. The maple in my back yard only says “brr” and sheds a layer: no black skeleton. No snow and no ice here.
At the Sunday farmers market it is heaving with visitors, I think they’ll have to expand their layout to allow for such a thriving. I see some faces which I recognise: people from nights out, the French man who sells me a tiny wheel amazing goat cheese for thirteen dollars.
This is actually two salads, a Cypriot bean salad and a garden salad:
1/4 red cabbage
2 cloves of garlic
200g brown mushrooms
5 handfuls of dry black eyed beans
3 spring onions
1 red onion
1 punnet cherry tomatoes
A handful of oregano
Two or three handfuls of rocket
A teaspoon of mustard
1 loaf sourdough
Nice quality honey
3 small red apples (sweet, fragrant apples such as Pink Lady)
Put the beans in four times their height of cold water in a pot and set it on high heat to boil,
Chop the red onion into half rings and submerge them in balsamic vinegar with a pinch of salt: sit a bowl or heavy mug on top to press down on them, this speeds up their mingling with the balsamic.
Loosely chop the cabbage, walnuts, tomatoes and toss with the rocket into a large bowl, saving some of the finer walnut bits that doesn’t make it in your handfuls to the salad bowl.
Chop the mushrooms kind of chunky and throw them in a hot pan with a generous splash of olive oil. High heat is important here because we don’t want them to wilt too soon.
As the mushrooms cook, squeeze half a lemon into a bowl. Add 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar, generous dashes of tabasco, and 3tbsp olive oil. Mix this up and drop in a couple of sprigs of fresh oregano
Once the mushrooms have let out some of their moisture already, add this bowl in and keep the heat on high. A nice glaze should develop after much fussy steaming. Your wooden spoon should be bringing all this together.
Mix in the rest of the chopped walnuts so that they stick to the mushrooms, and put the contents of this pan straight into the salad bowl.
In another bowl add the drained beans with a generous glaze of olive oil and thinly chopped rings of the three spring onions. The red onions should have developed a nice peppery balsamic punch by now and they can go in this salad bowl too.
Drop the mustard, another half lemon and some balsamic and olive oil into a little jug and whisk together. I think I had about equal parts vinegar and oil. Put this on the table.
Serve from the two bowls with salt nearby. Put the cheese, apples, honey, and bread on a chopping board with a knife to serve afterwards.