Nick Cullen serves up a great summer treat

A TASTY, well made salad is one of my favourite things to eat, especially when it’s warm outside.

The word salad often turns a lot off people off but there are thousands of ingredients you can include, not to mention a variety of zingy dressings to liven them up. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, pasta, couscous, meats, cheese, fish and herbs all have their place in a salad.

However, what is important is the contrast of flavours and textures and making sure everything works in harmony. And don’t forget the dressing – this brings everything together.

Take your time with your dressing and blend it properly to create a balance of flavour, it’s not too dissimilar to making a cocktail in that respect!

Today’s recipe is a twist on the classic Caesar salad, incorporating some delicious hot-smoked salmon to give it a real summer feel. My variation of this iconic salad, served with lovely homemade ciabatta ‘croutons’, turns this simple, rustic dish into a substantial meal.

Anchovies are often used in Caesar salad recipes but I’m not a fan so I leave them out.

The ‘original’ Caesar salad was allegedly created back in 1924 by a restaurateur called Caesar Cardini, and was a very simple dish that has evolved over time. It was originally created to take the pressure off his busy kitchen and was intended to be made table-side by the waiting staff.

This new approach was quite a novel thing and soon enough, Caesar Salad became an iconic and fashionable dish that is still enjoyed across the world to this day!


(serves 2)

2 little gem lettuces

180g thick cut hot-smoked salmon

100g parmesan cheese

1 small ciabatta loaf

100g mayonnaise

2 tbsp. double cream

1 garlic clove, minced

Half a lemon

Black pepper

First, make the Caesar dressing. Grate half of the parmesan cheese and mix together with the mayonnaise and garlic and a good squeeze of lemon.

Slowly add the double cream to create a sauce, adding a little extra if you prefer a thinner consistency.

Season with a generous twist of black pepper.

Heat a large pan over a high heat with a little olive oil and pan-fry the smoked salmon for two to three minutes, turning half way.

Meanwhile, to make the croutons, slice the ciabatta into thin slices and drizzle with olive oil. Place under the grill to toast for a couple of minutes, turning once.

Wash and tear the lettuce and toss in a bowl with half the Caesar dressing. Add the croutons and salmon and loosely combine all the ingredients before diving between two plates.

Drizzle with the rest of the dressing and shave some slivers of the remaining parmesan over the top.