It’s only eight sleeps til Christmas. If you live in Melbourne there’s still time to get The Broadsheet Italian Cookbook, featuring 80 recipes from Australia’s best restaurants, cafes and bars. Order today (December 17) and you’ll receive your copy before the weekend. (Everyone else: you’re welcome to take your chances, but we can't guarantee Australia Post will get it there in time, sorry.)
The book is a great resource for every occasion: quick weeknight dinners, lazy weekend brunches, dinner parties and yes, Christmas lunches. Here are three of our favourite salad recipes from the book, which can be doubled, tripled or even quadrupled, depending on the size of your gathering.
Zucchini and Sugar Snap Salad with Macadamia Pesto
Big Poppa’s, Darlinghurst, New South Wales
500g baby zucchini (or large zucchini if you can’t find baby)
500g sugar snap peas, tops removed
1½ bunches mint, picked
1 bunch flat leaf parsley, picked
100g toasted macadamia nuts
2 lemons, juiced
1 clove garlic
100ml extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for dressing
100g Pecorino Romano, finely grated
Salt and pepper to taste
Take half the zucchini and slice thinly on a mandoline or shave with a vegetable peeler. If using baby zucchini, cut the rest lengthways, into 4 long quarters. Otherwise, cut large zucchinis into 5cm matchsticks.
Take half the sugar snaps and thinly slice lengthways. Blanch the rest in boiling water, whole, for 30 seconds, then refresh in iced water.
To make the pesto, put ⅔ of the mint, all the parsley, garlic, macadamias, a pinch of salt and the olive oil in a food processor and blend until smooth.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the zucchini, sugar snaps and the remainder of the mint leaves and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with the lemon juice and a little more olive oil. Mix everything together. Drizzle some pesto over and finish with a sprinkle of Pecorino. Store excess pesto in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Hint: if you’re taking this salad to a party at someone else’s house, bring the lemon juice and olive oil in a separate container and pesto in another. Dress the salad and add the Pecorino just before everyone sits down to eat.
Pea and Farro Salad
Icebergs Dining Room and Bar, Bondi, New South Wales
1 cup farro
1½ cups cooked peas
5 leaves basil, chopped
5 leaves mint, chopped
1 shallot, finely diced
½ Lebanese cucumber, diced
½ stick celery, diced
25ml vinaigrette (see ingredients below)
Salt and pepper to taste
25ml lemon juice
35ml sherry vinegar
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
¾ tsp salt
200ml extra-virgin olive oil
Ricotta salata (salted ricotta) to serve
Cook the farro in plenty of lightly salted water for 20–30 minutes or as per the packet instructions. Drain and allow to cool to room temperature.
To make the vinaigrette, combine the vinegar, mustard, salt and lemon juice and then the oil. Do not emulsify.
Combine the herbs, peas, farro, cucumber, celery, shallot seasoning and 25ml vinaigrette. Place the dressed salad in bowl, coat with a fine grating of salted ricotta and serve. Store excess vinaigrette in the fridge for up to 1 week.
Hint: as with the zucchini and sugar snap salad, this one will benefit from the vinaigrette and ricotta being transported separately and added just before service.
Cavolo e Piselli (Cabbage and Pea Salad)
Baby, Richmond, Victoria
450g savoy cabbage, thinly sliced
180g green peas
90g radish, thinly sliced
80g Parmigiano Reggiano
½ bunch mint leaves
1 tbsp chilli flakes
¾ tsp flaked sea salt
60ml extra-virgin olive oil
25ml red-wine vinegar
2 cloves minced garlic
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 sprigs thyme, picked
Salt to taste
To make the dressing, combine everything except the oil in a mixing bowl. Slowly pour in the oil while mixing vigorously.
Combine the cabbage, radish, peas, mint leaves and chilli in a large serving bowl. Pour the dressing over and toss to combine. Use a Microplane to grate the parmesan on top and serve.
The Broadsheet Italian Cookbook features 80 recipes from Australia's best restaurants, cafes and bars. Available now at shop.broadsheet.com.au.