Oh, we do love a chopped salad in this house. However, I may shock you, as the leaves used in this salad are not those grown on the farm, but rather one of my other favourites: baby gem lettuce. As you know, we may swim in babyleaf salad in this house, but I do still love a crunchy Cos or Gem lettuce: there is an unmistakeable and welcome fresh crunch to these leaves that this particular salad needs. Today’s recipe, true to its name, relies on bacon and egg- and potato for a bit of body. The key ingredients, however, are the gherkins, jalapenos and olives. Along with all of the other lovely ingredients, the sharp flavours of that magic trio just work beautifully here. I haven’t written down a dressing recipe- anything you fancy would work here: a vinaigrette, a sweet mustard dressing, or a ranch type of dressing; they’d all go well, so please just make it your own.
Serves 4, generously
6 rashers smoked streaky bacon
4 eggs, boiled and chopped
2 baby gem lettuce, chopped, or one large head Romaine, chopped
2 medium potatoes, skins left on, cubed into small cubes
1 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic microplaned
Maldon salt and pepper
About 2 jalapenos, deseeded and finely chopped
About 5 gherkins, finely chopped
1 cup olives, chopped
2 spring onions, finely chopped
About 10 cherry tomatoes, quartered
Half a cucumber, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
A mixed handful of basil and parsley, chopped
Roast the cubed potatoes: pop them in an ovenproof dish with the oil and garlic, toss well and roast on a high heat (180-200 degrees Celsius) for about 15-20 minutes until crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Remove and set aside.
Fry the bacon first: or pop it in a hot oven. The key is to crisp it up so perfectly that you’re able to crumble it onto the salad. Discard the fat though- it’s not needed in the salad, but of course can be reserved for later use.
When you are ready to assemble the salad, layer everything on a large platter- however you fancy doing it is up to you. I tend to end with the crumbled bacon, and the herbs and dressing. Serve immediately, with a dressing of your choice.