Sunshine Salad

A visit to the local greenmarket has become my favourite Summer Sunday morning ritual. Most weeks, as a big city newbie, I am still finding produce that is different or new to me. Trawling the greenmarkets here in New York City is such an urban treat and, for a salad-maker, it provides me with a constant source of inspiration. 

One of my biggest inspirations in salad creating is colour. The new hues of each season always give me fresh ideas to bring to the plate. With today’s Summer solstice heralding the start of Summer in the Northern hemisphere, I was almost giddy over the sunny yellow zucchini (or Summer squash for Northerners) I found at this week’s markets. I snuck a few raw slices and they were the sweetest I’ve ever tasted.

I don’t usually give my salads fancy names but, buoyed by my zucchini giddiness, I’ve called this salad my Sunshine Salad. It is bright, sunny and is resplendent with humble, seasonally sweet, earth-borne flavours. With the yellow zucchini as my catalyst, I’ve added more flaxen ingredients including corn, gold beets and lemon-scented millet.

If you don’t share my yellow fever, or simply can’t get your hands on gold zucchini and beets, just use their more regularly coloured counterparts. Not as sunny, but still bursting with flavour!

 

Sunshine Salad

Serves 4

Gluten free and vegan

  • 2 golden beetroots, halved
  • 1 small clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 cup (100g) millet
  • 2 cups vegetable stock/broth
  • 3 yellow zucchini/summer squash, trimmed and sliced lengthways into 5mm slices
  • 2 corn on the cob, husks removed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ cup chives, finely chopped
  • Sea salt and black pepper

Garlic Lemon oil

  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • Sea salt and black pepper

Preheat oven to 200˚C (392˚F).

Place the golden beets on a large piece of foil. Drizzle over some olive oil and season with sea salt and black pepper. Throw the crushed garlic on top and enclose the beets within the foil. Place in the hot oven for 35-40 minutes until tender. Remove from the oven and thinly slice.

To make the garlic and lemon scented oil, squeeze the lemon juice into a small bowl, and add the extra virgin olive oil. Whisk together. Add the garlic, sugar, big pinch of sea salt and some black pepper. Whisk again until combined. Adjust lemon, oil, sugar and salt to your liking.

In a medium saucepan, bring the vegetable stock/broth to the boil and add the millet. Cover and cook on low heat until all the stock has been absorbed. Add more water if you need to, as some brands of millet take longer to cook than others. Turn off the heat, remove the lid, and allow the millet to sit for 10 minutes – this will allow the grains to dry out further and fluff up. Once cool, drizzle the garlic lemon oil over the millet, and, without stirring, leave and allow the flavour to infuse the millet for a further 10 minutes.

Heat a barbecue/grill, griddle pan or large fry pan to high heat. Drizzle the zucchini slices and corn with olive oil. Place the zucchini on the hot plate/pan and char-grill for 1-2 minutes on each side until they show some colour. The idea is not to cook the zucchini too much. It is fine for them to still retain some crunch. Place cooked zucchini into colander and sprinkle over some sea salt flakes. Allow to drain in the sink for 5-10 minutes.

Next place the corn on the barbecue/grill and cook on every side until the kernels show charring. Remove and, using a sharp knife, remove the kernels by running the knife down each side.

Add the sliced beets, corn kernels and zucchini to the millet. Toss to combine.