If you’re already growing salad leaves, you don’t need me to tell you that they taste a million times (approximately) better than anything you get in those shop-bought bags. Salad leaves grown organically in healthy, full-of-life soil and freshly harvested are going to be at their peak of flavour and nutritional value. If you aren’t already growing salad leaves, here’s my easy to follow recipe for probably the slowest salad you’ve ever made.
1 packet lettuce seeds, I like ‘Black Seeded Simpson’ and ‘Freckles’ but a mixture of lettuces is good for variety and value for money
1 packet spinach seeds, try ‘America’ or ‘Medania’
1 packet rocket seeds
1 packet dill, coriander or chervil seeds (or all three)
Sow a short row each of lettuce, spinach and herbs. When you see signs of green growth, sow a short row of rocket (they grow much faster, so you need to give everything else a head start). Save the remaining seed – keep it somewhere cool and dry, and repeat these sowings every two or three weeks for a continuous supply of leaves.
You can start harvesting leaves after a few weeks (yes, it really is a slow salad!), as soon as they are large enough. When you pick the lettuce leaves, take only the outer ones leaving the centre to continue to grow and produce more for your next salad. With the spinach, herbs and rocket take just a few leaves from each plant and leave the rest to grow.
Gently wash and drain the leaves, patting any remaining water away with a clean tea towel. Tear the lettuce, spinach and rocket into bite-size pieces, and chop the herbs slightly smaller. Mix in a large bowl and top with a scattering of walnut pieces. Make a dressing with roughly equal parts extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar and season with a good pinch of flaky sea salt. Dress the salad just before serving.