Summer is in full force in Pretoria at the moment. The sky is brilliant blue, the Jacaranda trees are sporting brand new purple blooms and it is already ridiculously hot. When the season changes, people swarm to the gym and healthy food is a priority once more. And this glorious weather also inspires me to eat lighter, healthier food.
This salad is one of my staples at the moment. I eat it for lunch on its own or as an accessory to grilled meat for dinner.
I like to marinate the tomatoes and bocconcini (mozzarella) while the broccoli is steaming to really allow the flavours to mingle and when the broccoli is just tender and still beautifully green, I remove it from the steamer, drop it into ice water to cool it down and to allow it to keep that stunning colour and then add it to the tomatoes and cheese. I allow it to marinate for up to 3 hours before serving.
The lemon works wonders on both the bocconcini and the broccoli and the tomato juices along with the olive oil and lemon create this stunning dressing/marinade which is pure perfection in my opinion. When I’m in the mood for a bit of heat, I like to add a few flakes of smoked chilli to the dressing but most often I leave it as is. I also use fresh cracked white pepper instead of black pepper because I feel its flavour is less intrusive and not so overpowering. And thinking about it now, I think this would be fab tossed through some cooked penne for a light pasta salad. And of course, it’s perfect for Meatless Monday.
(The amounts given below are just a guideline. I have listed the amounts that I find easiest in the shops. If your tomatoes come in 500g containers, feel free to use all of them. Amend the recipe for your convenience and just taste as you go to make sure everything has a sharp lemony tang.)
- 500 g broccoli florets
- 250 g bocconcini small mozzarella balls, drained
- 400 g cherry tomatoes halved/quartered
- juice of 2 lemons
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- smoked salt & white pepper to taste
- smoked chilli flakes optional
Slice the bocconcini into quarters and place in a large bowl with the tomatoes.
Mix all the dressing ingredients and pour over the tomatoes and bocconcini.
Steam the broccoli for 7-10 minutes until just cooked (stems should be firm but easily pierced by a knife) and place into a bowl with ice water to cool down. Drain well and add to the tomatoes and bocconcini.
Allow to marinade for 20 minutes up to 3 hours.
Serve at room temperature.