Summer is the time of salads. In Chinese Medicine eating with the seasons is advocated, so eating salads and some raw foods in the summer is seen as living harmoniously with nature. So while we’ve still got some summer left, thought I’d share with you a salad which nourishes the Chinese Medicine concept of ‘Blood’ and Yin. It’s also a feast of summer colours: deep reds, vibrant greens and sunny yellows. You can make this for lunch, it will last a couple of days if you don’t dress the leaves. Take it to work in separate small containers and assemble when you are ready to eat.
Beetroot salad with tarragon, Dijon dressing and soft-boiled eggs.
The main ingredients in this salad are good for the thin, dry anaemic type of person; perhaps someone who experiences dryness of the lungs, throat and eyes. Energy may be low and they feel stuck in life.
Beetroot in Chinese Medicine is sweet and it improves the blood circulation by nourishing the ‘Heart’. It benefits those with energy stagnation, feeling stuck and constipated.
Eggs are sweet and an excellent Blood and Yin tonic. They are particularly good at moistening, more so in the upper body. Eggs are good for people that are dry, anaemic and constitutionally thin. If you have ‘Damp’ or mucus symptoms, tending to be sluggish and overweight, eggs should be taken in moderation or avoided.
Lettuce is cooling and dries ‘damp’, so good for those with fluid retention. It also aids the Chinese Liver to move energy in the body.
Cheats beets – 1 packet of 5/6 baby pre-cooked beetroots (select those with nothing added)
2 tbsp of red wine vinegar
1 bunch of fresh tarragon
2 small banana shallots, peeled and finely chopped
1-2 baby gem lettuce
handful of fresh podded peas for crunch (optional)
For the dressing:
2 tbsp of red wine vinegar
1 tbsp of maple syrup or honey
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 small clove of garlic, crushed
60ml extra-virgin olive oil
60ml sunflower oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Quantities can be varied and ingredients substituted to taste. This salad is nice with griddled sliced halloumi cheese, instead of eggs.
Chop the beetroot into wedges and add to a bowl with any of the packet liquid and add 2 tbsp of red wine vinegar. Add the sliced shallots and mix. If you have time, leave for about 20 minutes to soften the shallots.
Make the dressing. Put the vinegar, honey or maple syrup, mustard and garlic in a bowl and season generously. Mix the oils and pour very slowly, in steady stream, while whisking all the time. You should have a glossy emulsified dressing. If it splits, just whizz in a few tablespoons of cold water. The dressing should be like thick double cream. Season to taste and add a touch more honey, mustard, vinegar or salt to taste.
Put the eggs in a pan of boiling water, cook at a gentle simmer for eight minutes, then drain and plunge into cold water for a couple of minutes. When cooled crack and peel, cut in half or quarters.
Strip tarragon from its stalk and roughly chop. Wash and dry the gem lettuce and chop.
Put beets and shallots over the lettuce. Arrange the eggs and scatter tarragon over. Spoon generous amounts of the shiny dressing and serve. You’ll probably have some dressing left over and this can be used in other salads.