I have come to the conclusion of late that spring is really one big tease. One day it is beautiful and I find myself enjoying a cup of tea in the sun, my winter-white skin exposed in short sleeves; the next the sky has closed in and I’m searching for my favourite scarf and woolly socks to wrap up against the cold. Consequently, one day the mood suits light, leafy greens and then next more substantial meals.
I think this is the perfect spring salad, not because it uses especially seasonal produce, but because it is a salad with some weight, especially when served with crusty white bread for lunch, or alongside a spring lamb rack or grilled beef for a complete meal. And I think few would argue that the flavour of fresh basil doesn’t make you think of summer being just around the corner.
This winter my partner and I bought our first house (affectionately named “The Tiny House”) so we are experiencing spring for the first time in our new garden. So far I have managed to grow mint (although I would like to hear from anyone who can’t grow mint) and kill a tomato plant kindly given to me by one of the engineers. I plan on spending time in the garden over the next few months, learning some tricks of the trade and nourishing my soil so that hopefully next spring I will have plenty of home-grown treats. This year however I think I will be reliant on my local market to provide for me, which luckily last weekend it did when I found the most beautiful, reasonably priced tiger eggplants which I used in this salad. If your local market doesn’t have eggplant, you could always replace it with courgettes for a delicious alternative.