picking and preparing a winter salad

Sarah loves collecting leaves for a winter salad. Here are her simple tricks to the perfect salad.

Salad leaf varieties
Picked salad leaves
Salad with edible flowers on top

Pick lettuce leaves for crunch and colour. January is not the best month for these, but we have a few outside to harvest.

Add some salad leaves for fantastic flavour. There are so many truly hardy ones you can grow for harvesting in winter.

We harvest with elastic bands on our wrists, and bunch them as we go. It stops them getting into a schermozzle in the trug if you’re wanting to pick a few.

Some favourites for right now are Mizuna and Mustard ‘Red Frills’ – which takes strangely like new potatoes!

Other favourites include Mustards ‘Wasabi’ and ‘Red Giant’ (both with super powerful tastes), Salad Rocket ‘Serrata’ and the hardiest of the lot, American Land Cress, which will be happy-as-Larry, even in snow.

The third group of ingredients to add are some salad herbs. All these are also very hardy and grow outside, even now.

I particularly love chervil which will only grow in the cold and wet months. It’s a winter stalwart, perfect for sowing now. And spot-on for adding at the end of the cooking time into an omelette.

Wash your harvest once and then leave everything to soak in clean water for an hour or two.

With super-fresh and packed-with-texture-and-flavour leaves like these, I dress them only in the best extra virgin olive oil I can get my hands on, flaky salt and a good grinding of fresh black pepper. I usually don’t even use vinegar or lemon with great leaves. They don’t need it.

There are amazingly, some edible flowers in the garden still, despite the frost. Finish with those on top, after you’ve lightly dressed and tossed the bowl. With a salad like this, with so many different leaves, no mouthful will taste the same.

you might like