The spring salad, in short, should be a mixture of vegetables: obviously all the things that can be found in abundance in spring – young lettuces, both red and green, the small shoots from perennial plants in your garden such as mint, chives, parsley etc. If you cannot find these, then buy some fresh spinach. The only rule is that everything should be perfectly fresh.
- 85g (3 oz) radicchio
- 85g (3 oz) white lettuce leaves (the inner tender parts of a cos or little gem lettuce)
- 115g (4 oz) small spinach leaves
- A small bunch of watercress
- A small bunch of fresh chives
- A small bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 2-3 sprigs fresh mint
- 4-5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Juice of 1/2 large lemon
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Wash and dry all the salad ingredients very thoroughly. Slice the radicchio and lettuce into strips 1 cm (1/2 inch) wide. Leave the spinach leaves whole, but remove any long stalks. Cut the stalks off the watercress. Chop the chives into short lengths. Roughly chop the parsley and tear the mint leaves off their stalks. Choose a large bowl and mix all the leaves together in it.
- Make the dressing by mixing together the olive oil and lemon juice, then season with salt and pepper. (You could use balsamic vinegar in the dressing instead of lemon juice, about 1 tbsp. But don't use the most expensive one, a ten-year-old is quite sufficient). Only pour over the salad seconds before serving, so as to avoid the vegetables being 'cooked' by the acid in the lemon: even the freshest salad can be destroyed by being dressed too early.