No barbecue is complete without a salad or two, and luckily most are incredibly easy to prepare. Unlike cooked recipes, the beauty of most salads is that you really can prepare according to your tastes rather than following particular measurements. Dressings can easily be fixed by adding more of the main ingredient (usually olive oil or mayonnaise) to lessen the effect of the overzealous ingredient! Whether you’re cooking for family and friends or a large business networking event, here are a few recipes that meet with the Cinders Barbecues seal of approval. They are quick and easy to give you the minimum of stress and the maximum time to spend with your guests.
Panzanella Bread Salad
Panzanella is a Tuscan salad and a great way to use up day-old crusty bread and celebrate perfect summer tomatoes. It relies on the bread as the “filler” to soak up the juices of fresh tomatoes and cucumbers, as well as the olive oil you pour over everything. Use equal quantities of tomatoes and day-old crusty bread cut into large chunks. Some chopped deseeded cucumber, sliced red onion, torn basil leaves and good olive oil with a little red wine vinegar. Mix everything together and let marinate, covered, at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. Season to taste and no need to refrigerate.
Note: Don’t be tempted to use fresh bread – it will disintegrate and turn to mush. Instead cut into large chunks and bake in a low oven until dry and hard.
Pay tribute to soul food with this classic American macaroni salad. Measurements should be adapted to how large or small your group is. Cook a pan of macaroni in salted water, drain in a colander and toss in a little oil to prevent the strands from sticking together. Create a dressing from mayonnaise, a little vinegar, sugar, salt, black pepper and mustard to taste. While the macaroni cools, chop some celery, spring onions, green and red pepper and grate some carrot. Sweetcorn is another optional crunchy addition, along with pickled jalapenos for those who like it hot.
With or without leaves, a Greek salad is perfect with just about anything. Simply chop some feta into evenly sized cubes and mix with black olives, peeled and roughly chopped cucumber, beefsteak tomatoes and a liberal drizzle of olive oil. Add a little chopped, fresh dill for extra authenticity if preferred but remember, a little goes a long way.