Tuesday, 31 July 2007
A Meditecumbrian Diet
Attending farmer's markets and food festivals is something I urge people to do more of. Not only do you get the chance to discover some amazing foodstuffs from around your area, but you also get to meet the people who put the hard work in. Passionate producers who believe in their produce, putting a huge effort in to ensure that you are getting a quality product on your plate.
I had the pleasure to meet the guys from Shaw Meats at the Gateshead Flower Show at the weekend. They are a Cumbrian meat supplier who make some amazing cured sausages, and it is their policy to only source good meat from local farms within 30 miles of their butchery in Wigton, Cumbria. So on display were some inventive salamis such as Caraway and Nutmeg, Basil and Fennel and little chilli numbers called Firecrackers. They also had their own Biltong, a South African delicacy which is basically salt cured beef strips. All were seriously delicious, superb quality and you could tell it meant a lot to them to be selling such great produce.
The sausage I brought home with me was their own Cumbrian Chorizo. Less salty and less fatty than the chorizo I normally buy, it was also more subtle on the paprika giving you a meatier hit rather than the spice. I thought they were delicious, sausages that would improve even more with a little heat and crispiness, so I thought I would put them together in a simple salad. I love the contrast between a cold bean salad and searing hot meat. Get plenty of fresh herbs and a sharp leaf amongst them all, a few shavings of a salty cheese and perhaps some sun dried tomatoes, and you have a 10 minute Medittecumbrian supper on your plate.
Hot Cumbrian Chorizo, Bean and Herb Salad
1 large chorizo sausage, sliced to the thickness of a pound coin
1 tin of butter beans, drained and washed
1 tin of cannellini beans, drained and washed
A small punnet of cherry tomatoes, halved
A handful of sun dried tomatoes, sliced thinly
Leaves of any fresh herbs, I used parsley, coriander and chervil
1 red onion, sliced
A few shavings of a hard cheese such as Parmesan or Pecorino
Rapeseed or Olive oil
For the dressing
1 clove of garlic, crushed
2 tbsp rapeseed or olive oil
Half tsp smoked sweet paprika
Juice of half a lemon
1 tbsp cider vinegar
Freshly ground pepper
1 - In a large bowl, place the beans, rocket, herbs, tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes and onion.
2 - Make the dressing by combining all of the ingredients, mixing well.
3 - In a large frying pan, heat up a tablespoon of the oil and add the chorizo. Be careful the sausage does not burn and cook until crisp and seared.
4 - Dress the salad in the bowl, then place piles into bowls. Scatter the salad with the hot sausage, a few shavings of cheese and more herbs. Eat with optional crusty bread.