Remembering my best ever salad

We usually visit our Dutch friends at about this time of year, however we’re probably heading over to see them in September. Thinking back to last year, while with them I enjoyed the best ever salad, the best I’ve eaten in all my life… here is what I wrote about it:

Our Dutch friends think we are very odd and rather funny (in the nicest fondest way) because we love to visit what to them is a perfectly ordinary supermarket – Jumbo! It’s not just that it has lots of interesting and delicious looking Dutch foods – everyday items and speciality, it’s just so interesting to see a completely normal supermarket in another country.

There is a big new store, Jumbo Foodmarkt Veghel,  opened in what had been an old factory complex – a milling operation I think. We went there last year, and this year we went again… We had a busy morning being good tourists, and by the time we got to the shop it was lunch time! I’m not sure if the restaurant was part of Jumbo – I’m pretty sure it was, but it was in its own space, opposite a beer shop with literally hundreds, if not thousands of different sorts of beer, mostly from the Netherlands, but also from Belgium and other European countries. There was also a big speciality food market, which would have been really interesting to go round, but we were a little pressed for time.

We settled ourselves at a table, our order was taken, our friends wanted a tuna salad sandwich, my husband a burger, and I asked for salad – meat, fish or vegetarian, I was asked. I decided on the veggie option… The tuna salad sandwiches arrived – the most generous size I have ever seen, and the burger, which was like a mini home-made burger, very chunky but lunchtime sized with loads of chips – definitely not frozen but fresh-cut and cooked by the looks of it… and then my salad…

My featured image really doesn’t do it justice… every mouthful was different and delicious.. it was so wonderful that I actually made a list of ingredients, as far as I could tell, so I could try to replicate it at home… The man who had taken our orders had also cooked and prepared the meals, and when he came over, I think he was a bit surprised (but also delighted!) by my enthusiasm! I showed him my list and I think I had found everything – except the balsamic vinegar!

here is what I think was in the salad:

  • mixed baby leaves dressed in the lightest of oil/balsamic dressing
  • lightly roasted nuts including almonds, walnuts, cashews
  • seeds including sesame and sunflower (maybe some pumpkin)
  • baby pickled onions and teeny-weeny-tiny pickled gherkins
  • pickled slices of carrot (still crunchy and in a very light pickle)
  • cucumber
  • baby tomatoes preserved in olive oil and herbs
  • tomatoes
  • soft goats’ cheese masked in a dressing of tomatoes, fig, red peppers and paprika (the peppers may have been preserved in olive oil too, or roasted, very soft, savoury dressing)
  • decorated with a creamy dressing, which I think was slightly herby, maybe garlicky
  • what I think may have been seaweed… but not completely sure on that, it did taste lovely though and was bright green!

I know it sounds ridiculous maybe to be so enamoured by a salad – a collection of things just put together (the man said he had just taken whatever he fancied out of the bowls of ingredients and made the salad specially for me) – but honestly, it was just yummy!

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