A really tasty and simple salad that makes a lovely barbecue side salad and goes perfectly with grilled or griddled chicken. The homemade croutons add a beautiful texture. You can make your own very simply, using any stale bread you might have lurking in the bottom of your bread bin. I used the end of a wholemeal bloomer I’d made a few days previously. The salad is dressed with a touch of balsamic glaze which is all that’s needed to compliment this delicious salad.
Serves 4 as an accompaniment
For the coutons:
- 4 thick slices of stale bread
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
For the salad:
- 100g walnuts
- 75g soft goat’s cheese, sliced (one with a rind will slice more easily)
- 100g red grapes, washed and halved lengthwise
- 100g rocket
- 220g – 270g pack of cherry tomatoes (preferably on the vine), halved
- Balsamic glaze – see Tip below if you want to make your own.
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees / Fan 180 degrees / Gas 6. Shave the crusts off the slices of bread (if you want to – you can leave them on if you’d prefer), and then cut the bread into chunks. Mine were about 3cm squares.
- Place the chunks on a lightly oiled baking tray, add a good drizzle of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place in the preheated oven for about 15 mins or until golden brown and crispy, turning half way through the cooking time and adding a touch more oil and seasoning.
- Toast the walnuts: heat the walnuts in a dry, heavy frying pan over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes or until they are golden brown and smell toasted. As nuts burn easily, stir or shake them regularly to ensure even toasting.
- Place the rocket on a large serving plate or bowl. Add the halved tomatoes, grapes, walnuts, croutons and sliced goat’s cheese.
- Drizzle with balsamic glaze and serve.
To make your own balsamic vinegar glaze, simply place 240ml of balsamic vinegar and 45g of brown sugar in a saucepan. Stir constantly on a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil and then simmer until the glaze is reduced by half. This should take about 20 minutes and the glaze should coat the back of a spoon. Test consistency by placing some glaze on a plate to see how it is when cooled. Once you’re happy with the consistency, allow to fully cool, pour into a jar with a lid and store in the fridge. Please note that the fumes produced when making the glaze can be quite noxious so it’s an idea to stick the extractor fan on or open a window!