This is my new favourite salad. Seasonal, quick, colourful and on the table in 15 minutes, it is as good at a barbecue as it at a more formal weekend dinner. Preserved red peppers add a nice little vinegary kick so all that remains to do is to cut up an avocado (ah, we Aussies really do love our avos), grill some broccoli and finish with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and balsamic vinegar. That’s it – that’s the recipe there, pretty much.
With the bumper of crop of avocado and broccolini Australia has had this year, this salad is really affordable too. I love serving it as a side to steak or with leftover roast chicken, as a quick lunch.
As with all simple things, the magic of this dish lies in using simple, seasonal ingredients and using the best quality oil, salt and vinegar to do the rest. It’s hard to explain how something so simple can taste so good, but it’s all there – the creaminess of the avocado; sweet, crunchy chargrilled broccolini, and the comforting sharpness of the vinegary peppers.
Use a good-quality aged balsamic vinegar and the best olive oil you have in your pantry. This is the brand of preserved red peppers that I use. In the past, I obstinately refused to buy jarred, preferring to chargrill them myself. I’ve since decided that a) it’s cheaper to buy these, b) it’s not really worth the trouble because peeling peppers is a pain and c) the vinegary-ness in these is an extra added bonus.
Fun fact for food nerds: did you know that broccolini is not baby broccoli? It is actually a hybrid between Chinese broccoli (also known as Chinese kale, kai lan or gai lan) and broccoli. It was invented in Japan in 1993 and has only been available in Australia since 1999, though its popularity has made it more readily available over the years.
- 1 bunch broccolini
- ½ an avocado
- 2 preserved capsicums or red peppers
- drizzle of good quality, extra virgin olive oil
- drizzle of aged balsamic vinegar (or vino cotto)
- pinch of sea salt
- freshly ground pepper
- Blanche the broccolini in boiling water for 3 minutes, then grill in an oven or barbecue until lightly charred, but still crunchy. You can also skip the blanching step and just grill it, but I find that the two-step method leaves less room for error i.e. it's easier to get still crunchy, charred broccolini every time.
- Slice the red peppers and avocado.
- Place all the vegetables on a plate and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.