Since we’ve had more than two days in a row of sun, I can proudly announce that it’s now officially bbq weather! So pull your shorts on, grab your sunglasses, and rummage in the cupboard for those fire lighters.
BBQs usually mean meat and lots of it. It’s undisputed among carnivores, that a plate of meat is undoubtedly a good thing but whilst sausages and pork chops (two of my favourite bbq meats) provide me with all the salty, savoury, fatty goodness I need, what I end up longing for two pork chops and a sausage in, is something lighter, and something a little bit of sweet and sour to cut through the fat and really enhance and complement the meaty goodness.
This apple, quinoa and wild garlic salad does exactly that. The apples are sweet and sour being lightly pickled in cider vinegar, there’s a hit of mustard to add a little bit of punchiness, and the quinoa is light but filling and adds texture and nuttiness to the salad. The wild garlic (stems and flowers) is subtle but takes the salad up a notch in both flavour and looks.
If you’re looking for tips on how and where to find wild garlic, this Guardian article is a good start. When wild garlic’s not in season (July-Feb), you can always use scallions instead and if you want to add flowers, a peppery nasturtium would go well and they flower until late Autumn.
Usually, I’ll make slaw, pickles, or kimchi for a bbq – all banging bbq sides in their own right – but this time around, we were fancying the texture of quinoa and we had apples and wild garlic to use – all a perfect match for pork.
You can do the peeling, chopping and whisking while the bbq heats up and the quinoa cooks, and all in all it takes around twenty five minutes to make including cooling time. It’ll keep in the fridge overnight if needed, but tastes best fresh.
Quinoa, Apple and Wild Garlic Flower Salad
Ingredients – for two, scale up or down as needed
English Mustard, 1 tsp
Olive Oil, 2 tsp
Cider Vinegar, 2 tbsp
Lemon Juice, 1 tsp
Wild Garlic, 3 stems and flower heads
Braeburn Apple, 1 (peeled and cored)
Peppery Salad Leaves like Rocket, two large handfuls
Salt, a generous pinch
Black Pepper, a generous pinch
Bring a pan of slightly salted water to the boil, add the quinoa and simmer for fifteen minutes.
Meanwhile, to make the salad dressing, whisk together the mustard, olive oil, cider vinegar, and lemon juice in a small bowl.
Peel and core the apple and then slice it roughly in to 1cm cubes. Add it to the dressing, stirring and ensuring all of the apple is coated so it doesn’t go brown. Chop the wild garlic stems (setting the flower heads to one side) and scatter over the apples. Cover and leave in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.
Once the quinoa is cooked (15 minutes), drain and fluff with a fork. You can either serve your salad warm, in which case assemble once the quinoa has cooled for about five minutes, or cold, in which case allow the quinoa to cool completely.
To assemble the salad, layer two handfuls of lettuce leaves, season with salt and pepper, add the quinoa, apples and any leftover dressing and toss gently.
Tip: Serve with well-seasoned big pork chops, and a nice juicy beer like Cloudwater’s NW DIPA Citra. Perfect!