Recipes from Cornersmith: Salads and Pickles


Smokey eggplant and tomato salad sml

Spiced tomato, smoky eggplant & parsley

25 minutes

40 minutes


2 medium-sized eggplants (aubergines), or 1 large one, about 650–700 g (1 lb 7 oz–1 lb 9 oz) in total
500 g (1 lb 2 oz) ripe tomatoes
1½ tablespoons olive oil
1½ tablespoons vegetable oil
1½ teaspoons ground cumin
1 large handful of picked flat-leaf (Italian) parsley leaves, plus extra to serve
juice of 1–2 lemons

This is more of a fresh relish than a salad. Rich and flavoursome, it is wonderful with grilled fish and meats, or smeared over ciabatta toasts. The sweetness of the slowly smoked eggplants is balanced by the fruitiness of ripe tomatoes.

Smoking the eggplants is easy and doesn’t require a lot of attention. You could also smoke some extra eggplant, cover it with olive oil and keep it in the fridge for up to 5 days, to enjoy with other meals. Or use it in a simple smoky eggplant dip – just scoop out the flesh, drain in a colander for about 10 minutes, then add some crushed garlic, ground cumin, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper and herbs of your liking, and perhaps a splash of tahini and/or yoghurt.

Heat a barbecue to medium–high. Prick the eggplant all over with a fork, then place directly on the barbecue. If you have a barbecue with a lid, close the lid, so the eggplant will absorb all the delicious smoky flavours. Cook for about 25–35 minutes, turning every 8–10 minutes, so the skin burns and blisters all over, and the inner flesh collapses fully. When the eggplant is totally charred, allow to cool for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the tomatoes. Cut half into bite-sized pieces, place in a large bowl, season with salt and pepper and set aside. Finely dice the rest.

Heat the olive oil and vegetable oil in a frying pan until quite hot; small bubbles should form around a wooden spoon when you dip it in the oil. (The oil will spit a little when you add the juicy tomatoes, so if you want to avoid a mess in your kitchen, you could place the oiled pan on your barbecue and do this step outside.) Add the diced tomato to the pan, along with the cumin, 1 cup parsley and a pinch of salt. Give a quick stir, being careful to avoid hot splatters. Cook over high heat for 2–3 minutes, until the tomato softens. Remove from the heat and add to the fresh tomatoes in the bowl.

Using a serrated knife, cut the charred eggplant in half lengthways. Scoop out the flesh, avoiding any burnt bits of skin, as they will make the salad taste bitter.

Tear the scooped-out eggplant flesh into bite-sized pieces, and add them to the tomato mixture. Add the lemon juice to taste and adjust the seasoning. Fold some extra parsley through. Serve immediately, on a big plate or in a shallow bowl.

Download printable recipe (PDF)


New harvest potatoes fresh peas and mint with brown butter vinaigrette sml

20 minutes, plus 20 minutes marinating

about 30 minutes


1 kg (2 lb 4 oz) new-season harvest potatoes – a waxy variety, suitable for boiling
300 g (10½ oz) fresh podded peas (frozen are also fine; just pour boiling water over them, leave to thaw for a few minutes, then drain)
60 ml (2 fl oz/¼ cup) hot chicken or vegetable stock
1 large handful of picked mint leaves, torn just before serving
2 tablespoons finely chopped dill
1½ tablespoons finely chopped tarragon

1 French shallot, finely chopped
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
60 g (2¼ oz) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
pinch of cayenne pepper

Scrub the potatoes and place in a saucepan. Cover with cold water, add a pinch of salt and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down to medium–low and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are just cooked. Drain, then set aside to cool down. (New-season potatoes don’t need peeling as their skins are very soft and thin.)

Meanwhile, blanch the peas in another saucepan of boiling salted water for 1–2 minutes. Refresh under cold running water, then set aside.

Cut the potatoes into quarters or chunky bite-sized pieces and place in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the hot stock over, cover the bowl with a plate and leave to marinate for 15–20 minutes.

Meanwhile, start preparing the vinaigrette. Combine the shallot and vinegar in a bowl and leave to sit for 5–10 minutes, to mellow the onion flavour.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat until it begins to foam. Stir and watch the butter carefully, scraping up any milk solids that stick to the bottom of the pan, until the butter becomes nutty and brown. (Don’t let it turn black and bitter!)

Once the butter has the right colour and flavour, add the olive oil and lemon juice directly to the pan. Pour that mixture into a tall container. Add the mustard, and the vinegar and shallot mixture, then blend with a hand-held stick blender until smooth. Add the cayenne pepper and season with salt and pepper.

Gently but thoroughly mix the peas through the marinated potatoes. Add the dressing and gently mix until the vegetables are well coated. Check the seasoning. Add the mint, dill and tarragon and serve immediately, in a large salad bowl.

Download printable recipe (PDF)


Charred corn salad sml

15 minutes

15 minutes


4 corn cobs, in their husks
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
¼ teaspoon Chilli Sambal (page 63)
1 teaspoon miso paste
juice of ½ lime
2 tablespoons Aioli (page 85)
1 small handful of picked basil leaves
1 lime, cut into wedges, to serve

Strictly speaking, this isn’t really a salad – but it’s still a bit of a summer essential, warmly welcomed at any barbecue.

Heat a barbecue to medium–high.

Remove the husks from the corn cobs; reserve them for another use (see tip). Remove any silky threads and place the cobs in a bowl. Add the olive oil, season with salt and pepper and toss until the cobs are evenly coated with the oil and seasoning.

Place the cobs on the barbecue and grill them, turning often, for about 8–10 minutes, until golden brown all over. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

In a small bowl, combine the chilli sambal and miso paste until smooth, adding a little lime juice to taste.
Mix the aioli through, then check the seasoning.

Cut the corn cobs in half, if you like, and place on a large plate. Evenly drizzle the remaining lime juice over the top, then the miso and lime aioli and some extra olive oil. Garnish with the basil and serve with lime wedges.

TIP: Don’t throw the corn husks out. Grill them on your barbecue until charred and black, then keep them under vegetable oil to infuse for a few weeks. This will create a really sweet, corn-flavoured oil, which you can use in salad dressings, for cooking meat or vegetables,
or when making your next mayonnaise.

Chilli sambal

20 minutes, plus 20 minutes sterilising, plus 10 minutes heat-processing (optional)

3 months, or up to 2 years if heat-processed

4–5 x 375 ml (13 fl oz/11/2 cup) jars

750 g (1 lb 10 oz) long mild red chillies
250 g (9 oz) carrot
50 g (1¾ oz) knob of fresh ginger
4 garlic cloves
55 g (2 oz/¼ cup) sugar
1 tablespoon salt
185 ml (6 fl oz/3/4 cup) white wine vinegar

We make mountains of this sambal when chilli season is in full swing. It’s a staple at Cornersmith, and in all our fridges at home. So quick and easy to make, it gives tacos, rice dishes, marinades and breakfast eggs a good hit of heat.

We use carrot as a base in this recipe as it adds sweetness and gives the sambal a fantastically bright colour, but you could experiment with other bases such as green mango or pineapple. Try green or yellow chillies too.

With fruit-based sambals, you may need to add more vinegar to loosen them. Keep tasting and adjusting the sugar/salt ratio until you’re happy with the flavour.

Sterilise your jars and lids (see page 212).

Roughly chop the chillies, carrot, ginger and garlic cloves. Place in a food processor with the sugar and
salt and blitz for 5 minutes. Slowly pour in the vinegar until your sambal has a smooth consistency; you may need to adjust the quantity.

When the jars are cool enough to handle, pack the sambal into the jars, pressing down firmly to make sure the chilli paste is covered in a thin layer of liquid.

Remove any air bubbles by gently tapping each jar on the work surface and sliding a clean butter knife or chopstick around the inside to release any hidden air pockets. Wipe the rims of the jars with paper towel or a clean damp cloth and seal immediately.

You can store the sambal in the fridge for up to 3 months, or heat-process the jars (see page 211) for 10 minutes and store in a cool, dark place for up to 2 years.

Once opened, refrigerate and use within 3 months.

TIP: If your chillies are extra hot, you can always change the ratio of the sambal. Try 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) carrot to 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) chillies – or even 750 g (1 lb 10 oz) carrot to 250 g (9 oz) chillies.

Iceberg wedges with aioli yoghurt sauce & herb crust

20 minutes

5 minutes


1 iceberg lettuce, about 400 g
(14 oz), outer leaves removed, cut lengthways into quarters
2 tablespoons natural unsweetened yoghurt

For the aioli
2 free-range egg yolks
1½ teaspoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, crushed
pinch of sea salt
260 ml (9¼ fl oz) vegetable oil

For the breadcrumb crust
100 g (3½ oz) stale bread, crust removed, cut into little cubes
1 small handful of picked parsley leaves
1 teaspoon picked thyme leaves
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
1½ tablespoons olive oil

These lettuce wedges are a great addition to a summer barbecue. Fresh, crispy and full of flavour, they are also an excellent way to use up stale bread. Don’t drown the wedges in too much dressing – you want lightness and crunch.

To make the aioli, place the egg yolks, vinegar, mustard, garlic and salt in a food processor or blender. Start the machine and add the vegetable oil in a thin, steady stream – be sure to do this really slowly, or the aioli may split. Blend until the mixture is thick and creamy, then taste and add a pinch of salt if needed.

To make the breadcrumb crust, place the bread, herbs and garlic in a food processor and blend into fine crumbs.

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the breadcrumb mixture and fry, stirring constantly, for 3–5 minutes, until the crumbs are golden brown and crispy in texture. Season with salt and pepper, tip into a big bowl and leave to cool.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the yoghurt and 2 tablespoons of the aioli; keep the remaining aioli in a clean airtight container in the fridge for later use (see tip). Check the seasoning, but don’t oversalt the yoghurt sauce, as the breadcrumb crust is seasoned as well.

Place the lettuce wedges on serving plates. Spread one-quarter of the aioli yoghurt sauce over one cut side of each lettuce wedge. Cover with the breadcrumb crust, so it sticks to the sauce. Any leftover crust mixture will keep for 3–4 days in an airtight container for sprinkling over other dishes.

Serve immediately.

TIP: When making the aioli, reserve the egg whites for recipes such as the salted almonds in the pickled stone fruit salad on page 94. Of course you can use bought mayonnaise here, but home-made aioli tastes so much better, and is a beautiful rich sauce to have on hand for the summer barbecue dishes such as the Whole Grilled Corn on page 64. Any leftovers will keep in the fridge for 3–4 days, and you can add all kinds of flavours, such as finely chopped preserved lemon rind, pickled gherkins and/or capers, or a few teaspoons of blood orange juice.

Download printable recipe (PDF)


Grilled Pineapple sml

15 minutes

20 minutes


1 pineapple, about 1.5 kg (3 lb 5 oz), cut into quarters, skin and core removed (see tip)
pinch of sea salt
2 teaspoons Chimichurri dressing (see page 37)
olive oil, for drizzling
juice of 1–2 limes or lemons
½ small red chilli, cut into very thin slices
6–8 mint leaves, torn into pieces just before serving

Grilled pineapple is so delicious! Its sweet acidity balances out the salt and chilli in this summery savoury fruit salad. It is refreshing on its own, but also pairs well with grilled meat or fatty fish. Another great use for the Chimichurri recipe on page 37.

Heat a barbecue to medium–low. Grill the pineapple quarters on the barbecue for about 10–15 minutes, turning now and then, until evenly coloured on all sides.

Cut the charred pineapple pieces into bite-sized pieces and place on a serving plate.

Sprinkle with the sea salt, drizzle with the chimichurri dressing, olive oil and citrus juice, then finish with a scattering of chilli and mint.

TIP: Use the pineapple skins to make a pineapple syrup. Make a base sugar syrup, from the Summer Fruit with Mint Stem Syrup recipe on page 77; you might have to multiply the ingredients a few times, but a triple quantity should be enough. When you put the syrup ingredients on the stove, add the finely chopped skins and cores of the pineapple and some spices such as cloves, allspice berries and peppercorns. Simmer over very low heat for 20–30 minutes, then strain out the skins, cores and spices. Check the consistency, and put the syrup back on the stove to reduce further if needed. It can be used to marinate meats for the barbecue, to finish desserts, to use instead of cordials for drinks (with or without alcohol), or simply to drizzle over ice cream. It will keep in a clean container in the fridge for at least 4 weeks.

Save your leftover herb stems, keeping them in an airtight container in the fridge until you collect enough for this and other recipes. Gather together about 80–85 g (3 oz) mixed coriander (cilantro), parsley and dill stems and/or leaves. Wash well, drain and dry. Place in a food processor with ½ teaspoon lightly toasted cumin seeds, 1 crushed garlic clove, 1½ tablespoons red wine vinegar, ¼ teaspoon salt and a pinch of chilli flakes.

With the motor running, slowly add 100 ml (3½ fl oz) olive oil until combined. Adjust the seasoning to taste. The chimichurri will keep in the fridge, with a layer of olive oil on top, for up to 1 week.

Download printable recipe (PDF)