Winter salad boasts bold flavours battling for attention

No two mouthfuls are the same in this hearty and filling salad that is crunchy, salty and so fresh

This substantial winter salad has quite an unusual list of ingredients but I promise it does all come together very well in the end. A delicious Caesar-style dressing packed with bold flavours helps immensely, with nutty Parmesan, salty anchovies (optional) and sharp lemon juice. I love salads like this where no two mouthfuls are the same. It’s far from bland, with plenty of bold flavours battling for your attention. It’s crunchy, salty and so fresh.

The broccoli is served thinly sliced and uncooked, as it is softened gently by the olive oil and wilts slightly, absorbing the flavour of the dressing while maintaining great texture. You can slice the broccoli and radish with a mandoline or in the food processor. I find it easier to do this small amount by hand, with a good chopping knife.

You can use romanesco broccoli for this too. It’s a magical looking vegetable I was lucky enough to find in my vegetable box a few weeks back. A mix between a cauliflower and broccoli, the romanesco has its own distinctive nutty flavour. Famous for its incredibly beautiful conical florets, it’s a natural example of the Fibonacci fractal, with its intricate spiralling, repetitive pattern. Whenever I come across one of these mathematical marvels, I find it hard to cut it up and cook it, but they are delicious.

I usually cook at least twice the amount of barley that I’ll need. It’s such a handy base for salads, soups and stews. It cooks quite quickly and is a great alternative to rice. I love the texture of barley. It’s better to cook it till it’s just done and slightly al dente, not too soggy or spongy. So do test it as it cooks. About 15-20 minutes is just enough.


I fill the pan with cold water and barley, bring to the boil, then drain and repeat the process, leaving it to simmer for 15 minutes once it comes to the boil. This texture is ideal for salad bowls. I usually add a vinaigrette dressing while the grains are still warm, so it absorbs all of those lovely flavours. This salad is delicious on its own or as a side for roast chicken or fish.

Recipe: Broccoli and barley salad