BBQ Leftovers Salad

Pulled pork salad

Well summer is here, Murray just won his first Wimbledon, the Lions won down-under and ‘al fresco’ food is irresistible during these long days.

I often think this would be a different nation with decent weather as at the first glimpse of sun and everyone is out and about. In town, any available outside seating, and there isn’t much, is taken and plumes of BBQ smoke are rising from the gardens. Great times…..except for the bad tan-lines but otherwise, yes, great times.

I ‘did’ a BBQ on Sunday and, as ever, prepared far too much. I got the Webber kettle grill out and slow roasted a piece of pork until falling apart, soaked wood-chips and all. It made the most amazing crackling too. Suffice to say it was such a shame to waste it and so in a vain attempt to do something healthier, I combined some of the leftovers into a salad.

BBQ Pork

(a stylised Twitter pic!)

No recipe as such here, but this was super-quick and hugely customisable. I used an asian style dressing but a simple cider-vinegar version would have worked nicely too. I also had some of Helen’s homemade coleslaw left which finished the dinner off nicely.

BBQ pork salad

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Crispy pork and crayfish salad, with thai style dressing and herbs

Shredded Pork and Crayfish Salad

Apparently we’ve just had Easter. I’m not convinced.

I remember Thursday evening, then a blur. Something about Easter eggs and cooking all day on Sunday, then there I was, sat back at my desk, blinking bewilderedly. Was that it?

A long weekend of overindulgence however needs to be counteracted with something altogether healthier. The edamame bean ying to the half-pounder with cheese yang I guess.

Well this is something of the middle ground. I’ve made thai ‘style’ salads on here before and I make no apologies as they are brilliant. I had some left over pork from the weekends roast and used it along with some nice salty crayfish to make a super-light thai style salad of spinach leaves, rocket, peashoots, coarsely copped herbs, some nice sweet piccolo tomatoes and finely slice shallots.

The pairing of seafood and pork was something I first came across in the Lisbon (the delicious pork and clams speciality) and it worked nicely here. I fried the otherwise very lean pork in a pinch of 5 spice, and a little salt until really crisp.

I made the dressing, and that was about it. 10 minutes. I used chilli oil here but it was a little hot so you may want to tone it down with some peanut oil.

Lastly, it was only after we had finished, I though it would have been great with chopped peanuts, but, I didn’t have any. Next time then…

  • Left over pork – about 120g/4oz, cut into thin batons
  • 1 pinch of 5 spice and a pinch of salt
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 200g crayfish tails
  • Mixed green salad leaves – I used spinach, rocket and peashoots. A couple of handfuls of each
  • 8 small ripe tomatoes
  • 3 shallots, sliced and separated into rings
  • 1/2 red chilli
  • 1 handful coriander – finely chop the stalks but leave the leaves (rolls off the tongue 😉 ) whole.
  • About 6 basil leaves. Sliced thinly. Thai basil is better here, but I couldn’t get it.
  • Dressing made from: 2 tbsp chilli oil, juice of half a lime, a dash of mirin (or a good pinch sugar/palm sugar), 1 tbsp fish sauce, 1 thumb sized piece of ginger – grated finely.

Simply fry the pork with the salt and 5 spice until really crispy, only adding the garlic towards the end so as not to burn it.

Crispy fried pork

Combine with the cray fish and set aside.

Plate up the larger salad leaves, shallots, chilli and tomatoes and layer on the pork/crayfish.

Put all the dressing ingredients in a shaker – by shaker I mean jam jar – and mix thoroughly. Taste it, adjust it if you see fit and spoon it over. Sprinkle with the herbs and that’s it –  job done.

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Thai Beef Noodle Salad

Thai Beef Noodle Salad

I think a number of my fellow countrymen and women would admit the British don’t do salads. We’ve adopted other countries of late, sure, but when I grew up salads meant lettuce, quartered (and generally flavourless) tomatoes, some sliced cucumber and spring onion. And that was about it. This dry,  flavourless token gesture of healthiness sat amongst the crisps and sausage rolls at the back of the table at many a get-together, slowly going limp and brown.

It only was much later in life when I first went to Italy and was presented with my first decent salad – a neatly arranged pile of rocket, semi dried tomatoes, parmesan shavings and a dressing, yes a dressing, of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I had no idea what the ingredients were at the time, but it was delicious. It was as much part of the dish as the piece of steak sat next to it and it changed my view of salad ever since.

I’m probably being a bit deprecating of us Brits, the humble ‘Ploughmans’ is still a great pub lunch and we simply don’t have the climate for the likes of semi-dried tomatoes or olives. As I mentioned though, we are keen to try other cuisines and we can readily get the staples for many different types of salad – Greek, French Spanish and my favourite – Thai

We went to a Thai restaurant recently and Helen went for a salad there. Partly because it’s a nice healthy option and partly because I encouraged her so I could try it. I do that a lot 😉

Thai salad is the ultimate for me. I love Thai flavours anyway, but in a salad they are so much more prominent. I made this salad the other night although the very few who saw my first ever post may notice I did something very similar before….

I used a good steak from a local butchers (sliced thinly, you only need to buy one regular sized cut) and some rice noodles to give it a bit more substance.

I must admit I can’t really remember the dressing quantities, but I tend to add the juice of a whole lime to a bowl and adding and tweaking the rest as I go. I’ve tried to list them, but it’s from recolection.

  • 300g good quality steak, thinly sliced.
  • Half a red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, finely sliced
  • two handfuls of breansprouts
  • 1 carrot, thinly sliced (I used a potato peeler)
  • About 2 savoy cabbage leaves, very thinly sliced
  • 1/2 a red pepper, thinly sliced
  • 3 small spring onions or 2 larger ones, thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp mixture of chopped fresh coriander/basil (thai basil if possible)
  • 100g rice noodles, cooked and cooled.

For the dressing (I think!):

  • Juice of one whole lime
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp rapeseed or light olive oil (not extra virgin)
  • 2 tsp palm sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 1 red chilli
  • 1 tbsp finely grated ginger
  • A splash of soy sauce to taste.

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Marinade the steak strips in some sesame oil and fish sauce for about 20 minutes.

Make up the noodles as instructed and rinse under the cold tap to cool. Flash fry the beef strips in a fiercely hot pan for a few second to brown and set aside.

Thoroughly wash and prepare the salad vegetables and mix together in a large bowl. Add the beef and resting juices one ready

Mix the dressing together, and taste/adjust as you see fit. Pour over the salad and toss well using tongues or a spaghetti spoon. Can’t get much quicker than that!

Thai Beef Noodle Salad

Quick Brown Rice and Feta Salad

Aside

Brown Rice and Feta Salad

Another quick post as I must admit I liked this one more than I thought I would. Isn’t this normally the way?

This started off a dinner this evening but ended up as tomorrow’s lunch. It’s a very simple salad of brown rice, feta and vegetables. It’s best served with the rice slightly warm.

  • 200g cooked brown rice
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 80g Feta cheese, diced
  • 1 onion finely sliced.
  • About two handfuls of mixed thinly sliced peppers (I used three whole mini versions)
  • 1 stick of celery very finely sliced
  • One carrot, grated
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 ‘glug’ of garlic infused oil (sorry workmates!)
  • 1 handful of chopped fresh basil leaves
  • Salt and pepper

What could be easier! Just prepare the vegetables and mix together in a bowl. I fried the onion to soften and sweeten it up first. Add the oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper (to taste) and mix well.