Sometimes at the end of a long, busy week all you really crave is a quick and easy dish that nourishes whilst also ticks the ‘packed full of flavour’ box. With just a few simple additions, this oozes restorative powers, using the sort of ingredients that marry so well – soft fleshed avocado, crisp bitter-leaved watercress, sweet and sour red onion with clean tasting raw baby courgette and crunchy pistachio – all of which is dressed in a sprightly covering of lime and sumac. This is a great way to use up the sort of produce that has been lying around in the fridge and store cupboard. (If you haven’t already enlightened your tastebuds to sumac, I would recommend you do so. This heavenly and vibrant Middle-Eastern spice has a mild, almost lemony flavour and is available in the spice section of most larger supermarkets) It’s time to get some added ‘zest’ in your bowl!
Note: I love to make up a large batch of my pickled red onion recipe below and keep in the fridge for when I fancy a quick snack. The sweet and sour flavours are ideal stirred into creamy pasta, sprinkled on top of dips, or they are the natural counterpoint to salty foods such as prosciutto, feta and blue cheese; delicious on toasted seeded bread with some added thyme.
Lime & Sumac dressed watercress, avocado, pickled red onion & baby courgette with chopped pistachio, poppy seeds & Thai basil
a handful of fresh watercress
1/2 an avocado
3 baby courgette, sliced in half
1 tbsp pistachio, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp poppy seeds
juice of a lime
a pinch of sumac
a few leaves Thai basil, torn
For the pickled red onion
1/2 red onion, sliced
1 small clove garlic, finely chopped
3-4 black whole peppercorns
3/4 tsp sea salt
3/4 tsp caster or soft brown sugar
150ml red wine vinegar
1. Begin by making the pickled red onion. Heat all the ingredients together in a small pan (topping up with some water, or more vinegar if required so the onion slices are covered). Bring up to the boil, then turn the heat down to a gentle simmer. Cook for 8-10 minutes, or until the onions are soft and they have turned a deep shade of pink. Strain before serving to remove the liquid, peppercorns and garlic. (or alternatively you can pour the entire contents of the pan into a sealed jar or container and place in the fridge until needed. This will keep for up to a month. This recipe is also easily doubled or tripled!)
2. When you are ready to serve, mix together the lime juice and sumac with some sea salt and ground black pepper. Place the watercress, avocado, baby courgette, pickled red onion into a bowl and pour over the dressing. Sprinkle with the pistachio, poppy seeds and Thai basil. Voila!
Recipe, styling & photography: Natalie Seldon (You can find me on instagram @prettyediblestylist and twitter @prettyedible)
Yet more tempting recipes using nuts and seeds will be available in my new book ‘The Goodness of Nuts & Seeds’ published February 17