It was such a surprise to come across an impassioned manifesto for a salad that dates from the 17th century, especially as it bears such a stark resemblance to the one on our own menu. We source the best local and seasonal ingredients, and decide how to prepare them on a daily basis. The dish has been a feature for the last nine months and, despite the winter, has weathered the cooler part of the year well, although the number of ingredients has fallen from over 40 to around 25. This dish changes every day so writing a recipe for it is something of a challenge; I don’t expect many of you to try to recreate this in its entirety, but I hope that it forms some inspiration for your next salad – or sallet, as John Evelyn would have called it. Hopefully it gives you some insight into the work and thought process behind one of Vanderlyle’s much-loved dishes.
This is a layered dish that changes through the eating process, finishing with a layer of kohlrabi
Rather than being dressed and tossed in a bowl, this is a layered dish that changes through the eating process – the idea being that the salad gets more interesting as it is delved into, finishing with a layer of salt-baked kohlrabi that absorbs a great many of the dressings and flavours, a delicious way to scrape the plate clean.
• 1 kohlrabi, peeled and baked in a salt dough for 45 minutes, then thinly sliced on a mandolin
• Mayonnaise dressing flavoured with fresh, raw green leaves (we are currently using chard in the restaurant)
• Agrodolce dressing made with dried fruit
• Glazed sable carrots
• Smoked beetroot
• Confit fenland celery
• Radicchio jam
• Chard stem marmalade
• French breakfast radishes, quartered
• 1 head of rosalba, picked into leaves and washed
• 1/2 head of treviso, picked into leaves and washed
• 5-6 sprigs of golden frills
• 5-6 leaves of scarlet kale, roasted at 140° for 9 minutes
• 1 head of castelfranco radicchio, picked into leaves and washed
• 10 leaves of minutina, washed
• Assorted leaves of lettuce: lollo rosso, lollo biondi, oak leaf, winter lettuce
• A small handful of curly endive
• Assorted leaves of mustard: hakurei, chirimen, fun jen
• Smoked quinoa, cooked for 15 minutes until softened
• 1 tablespoon of pomegranate seeds
• 5 supremes of blood orange, each cut into three
• 7 sprigs of dill, picked
• 12 chervil leaves
• 2 teaspoons of roasted camelina seeds
• 2 tablespoons of soy-roasted pumpkin seeds, shelled
• Very good extra virgin olive oil
• Maldon sea salt
• Begin by arranging the sliced kohlrabi in a single layer on the bottom of a large plate.
• Drizzle the dressings over this – be generous, and then start assembling the rest of the ingredients in layers on the dish.
• Interweave the leaves and add small amounts of the preserved ingredients (pickles, jams and chutneys) amongst them to get a good balance of all the ingredients throughout the salad.
• Build up layers of different flavours and textures, thinking about contrasts. It is important that no one ingredient dominates the dish, it is about balance.
• Finish with the toasted seeds, drizzle with oil and season with sea salt. Serve immediately with plenty of really good, fresh bread.