Warm leek & hazelnut salad
This is really simple and works hot, warm or at room temperature, whichever you fancy. I like to eat this with grilled, poached or baked fish. I invented this a few years ago and but forgot about it until this summer’s heatwave. Good quality unrefined (i.e. cold-pressed) nut oil makes this super-delicious but if you can’t get it, extra virgin olive oil is fine – it just won’t have that nutty flavour.
For 2, as an accompaniment
2 large leeks, including the green parts
2 tbsp cold-pressed walnut or hazelnut oil (or extra virgin olive oil if you cant get nut oil)
2 tbs sherry vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
1 tbsp roughly chopped raw hazelnuts
Lots of freshly ground black pepper
A pinch of Himalayan or Atlantic Sea Salt
1. Cut the leeks in half at the point where the white meets the green part. Clean the green parts by separating the layers from each other and running under the tap to remove any grit. Wash the white parts too. Now cut everything into disks a somewhere between half and three quarters cm thick, just so long as they’re all approximately the same.
2. Steam over boiling water or in an electric steamer until wilted, checking frequently. Over boiling water this will take maybe three minutes. You want the leeks slightly wilted but still bright green. When wilted, drain for a minute or two.
3. Empty the lot into a serving bowl, add the cold-pressed oil, vinegar, hazelnuts and seasoning. Toss and serve.
Why this recipe is good for you:
Leeks are a rich source of inulin, which helps feed the good gut bacteria that are important for all aspects of our health – skin, immunity, digestion and more. The green parts of all vegetables are rich in relaxing nutrient magnesium too – for brain, liver and bowel health. Cold-pressed, raw nut and seed oils are a fantastic source of omega 6 oils, which we need to balance hormones and boost immunity. A typical Western diet today contains a large amount of refined omega 6 oils (all non-raw or non cold-pressed/extra virgin nut and seed oils are refined). Consuming a lot of omega 6 oils contain -trans fats is linked to premature ageing, life-threatening disease, hormonal imbalance, low energy and suppressed immunity. Raw-cold pressed nut and seed oils are best kept in an airtight glass bottle in the fridge to stop them being damaged by oxygen and light and losing its health benefits. Extra virgin olive oil is more stable and can be kept in a dark cupboard. Dressing a salad with vinegar can help boost digestion.