These easy salads take seasonal produce and turn them into fresh summertime cuisine to enjoy at a barbecue, picnic or on a boat.

With summer now here, it’s only natural and easy to serve simple delicious salads. The recipes I have put together are easy to make and utilise the abundant seasonal produce available. I have gathered and combined summer vegetables, herbs and leaves, some with Char Siu, Huon salmon or grilled chicken.

Tomatoes represent summer perfectly to me and the peak period to enjoy them the most is from December through to February. The vine-ripened varieties are perfect for salads and Roma or egg tomatoes have firmer skins and flesh, which are excellent for cooking.

The recipe combining ripe tomatoes with buffalo milk mozzarella and barbecued onions is just perfect for a large shared platter. The caperberries ‘pop’ with flavour and combine so well with the sweetness of the tomatoes and basil.

I have included a delicious and healthy seared Huon salmon salad that can be served chilled or warm. The combination of the peppery baby rocket with the snow pea tendrils and roasted pine nuts is amazing. Cook the salmon to rare in the centre, which will result in a moist and glossy texture.

Everybody enjoys the fabulous flavours of Char Siu and here’s a smart way of producing a flavoursome salad with a Chinese twist. Just find a Chinese barbecue restaurant and purchase several pieces. The flavour is amazing, there is no wastage and it won’t cost you a packet.

My whole family loves the Asian noodle salads; in fact my youngest son Marcus requested this for his 14th birthday party with roasted pork belly. Here, I combine it with grilled marinaded chicken thigh fillets and dress it with lime juice, soy and oil. It’s one of those dishes that make you feel just so good afterwards.

The classic combination of asparagus and runny egg yolks always works and I serve this on grilled sourdough with a light Dijon dressing. Poach the eggs for no more than two minutes, because the yolks need to be runny. Place the poached eggs carefully on top of the asparagus spears and cut them at the table, so that the yolk can flow over the spears and sourdough.

I love using berries and here is a decadent dessert, combining raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and kiwifruit. They are all placed onto a delicious raspberry sauce flavoured with Kirsch, a clear stone-fruit brandy. Add to that a dollop of vanilla cream and you’re in summer heaven.

Tomato, mozzarella and grilled onions with caperberries and basil dressing

Mozzarella is an Italian traditional cheese which is moist and semi-soft. It can be produced from domestic water buffalo milk, cow’s milk or skimmed milk. It is best eaten the day it is made, but can be kept in brine for up to a week.

Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 8 minutes
Serves: 4

  • 4 ripe tomatoes, sliced 5mm thick
  • 4 buffalo milk mozzarella balls, sliced 5mm thick
  • cup basil leaves
  • 2 medium brown onions
  • 30ml extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1⁄3 cup caperberries
  • 60ml Jingilli extra virgin olive oil
  • 30ml white wine vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed

Combine dressing ingredients and set aside till needed.

Pre heat a grill plate, slice the onions 1cm thick, brush with a little olive oil, season well and grill until golden. Set aside until required.

Place alternate slices of the tomatoes and mozzarella onto a flat plate. Place the basil leaves amongst the slices and top with several grilled onion slices.

Scatter the caperberries over the top and finish with the dressing mixture.

Place the salad onto four plates and serve.


Seared Huon salmon with snow pea tendrils

Snow pea tendrils are the vine or stalk part of the snow pea plant with leaves and curly ends. It’s produced during the early stages of development and is very tender and quite delicious. Huon salmon comes from the cool pristine waters of southern Tasmania and is stunning to look at and delicious to eat.

Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 4 minutes
Serves: 4

  • 1 x 200g Huon salmon portion, skin off
  • 30ml Jingilli extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt flakes and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 4 cups snow pea tendrils
  • 1 cup baby rocket
  • 1 cup cucumber, thinly sliced
  • medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 tblsps pine nuts, toasted
  • 6 tblsps Jingilli extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tblsps lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Pre heat a grill pan, season the salmon well, add a little olive oil and grill on both sides until golden and cooked, keeping the centre moist and rare. Remove to a plate and allow to cool. Using your fingers, break the salmon into bite-size pieces and place into a bowl.

Add the snow pea tendrils, rocket, cucumber strips, red onion slices and pine nuts. Combine the dressing ingredients, add to the salad leaves and combine gently.

Place the salad onto four plates and serve.


Grilled asparagus with soft-poached egg and dill dressing on sourdough

The basic four ingredients – asparagus, egg, sourdough and dressing – may sound simple and they are, but they work just so well together! What a great way to start a meal. Just make sure that the egg yolks are runny, use a good sourdough and season well.

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 4 minutes
Serves: 4

  • 4 slices sourdough bread
  • 16 asparagus spears
  • 40ml Jingilli extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt flakes and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 4 soft poached eggs
  • 4 tblsps Jingilli extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tblsps red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tblsp fresh dill, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Poach four eggs until yolks are quite soft and the whites have set. Refresh into cold water and remove carefully, set aside until required.

Heat a grill pan, add some of the olive oil and grill the sliced sourdough until golden. Oil and season the asparagus spears and grill for several minutes, then remove.

Combine together the dressing ingredients and set aside.

Place the grilled sourdough slices onto the four plates and divide the asparagus spears amongst them. Position a poached egg onto the tops of each and pour a little dressing onto each one.

Cut the poached egg, allow the soft yolks to run over the asparagus spears and serve at once.


Grilled chicken with vermicelli noodles, peanuts and coriander salad

This wonderful Asian salad is a family favourite and we all love to sprinkle some Sambal Goreng Udang over the top. This is an Indonesian condiment that my mother used when I was growing up. It’s a combination of dried shrimps, crispy grated potato and spices. It can be found in Asian groceries and is well worth looking out for.

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 8 minutes
Serves: 4

  • 4 chicken thigh fillets
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4 tblsps light soy
  • 2 tblsps mirin
  • 1 small red chilli, sliced thin
  • 1 tblsp ginger, grated
  • tsp salt
  • 2 tblsps Jingilli extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups vermicelli noodles, softened
  • 2 cups carrots, grated
  • 1 cup bean shoots
  • cup cucumber ribbons, sliced using a peeler
  • cup snow pea shoots
  • cup red, green and yellow thin capsicum strips
  • 2 cups coriander sprigs
  • cup peanuts, chopped
  • 4 tblsps lime juice
  • 4 tblsps Jingilli extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 tblsps light soy
  • 2 tsps sesame oil

Place the vermicelli noodles into a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Allow to stand for five minutes, then drain, refresh with cold water and drain again.

Marinade the chicken with the garlic, soy, mirin, chilli, salt and grated ginger. Heat a grill pan, add the olive oil and grill the chicken until fully cooked, but still moist. Allow to cool, and then slice into strips.

Combine together the dressing ingredients and set aside.

In a large bowl combine the chicken strips, noodles, carrots, bean shoots, cucumber ribbons, snow pea shoots, capsicums and coriander sprigs. Gently fold the dressing through, place portions onto plates and finish with a scattering of chopped peanuts.


Char Siu pork with Chinese cabbage, chilli and radish salad

Char Siu is mostly strips of boneless pork shoulder, seasoned with a spiced up hoisin sauce mix and cooked over fire in a large oven. It is known as Chinese flavoured barbecue meat and the word Char Siu means suspended over fire. It can be purchased from most Chinese barbecue restaurants, where it can be seen hanging in the window alongside glazed roasted ducks.

Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: nil
Serves: 4

  • 400g Char Siu pork
  • small Chinese cabbage, cleaned and shredded
  • 1 cup bean shoots, ends trimmed
  • 6 spring onions, cut at an angle
  • 2 small birds eye chilli, sliced thin
  • 4 red radishes, sliced thin
  • 1 cup garden mint, torn
  • 4 tblsps sweet chilli sauce
  • 2 tblsps lime juice
  • 2 tblsps fish sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 tblsps Jingilli extra virgin olive oil

Slice the Char Siu into thin strips and place into a bowl. Combine in the shredded cabbage, bean shoots, spring onions, chilli, radish slices and the roughly torn mint leaves.

Combine together the dressing ingredients and fold through the cabbage mix. Present on four plates.


Summer berries with kiwifruit, Kirsch and cream

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: nil
Serves: 6

  • 2 punnets raspberries
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 30ml Kirsch
  • 1 punnet blueberries
  • 1 punnet strawberries
  • 2 whole kiwifruit, peeled and diced
  • Cream, whipped
  • 1 tblsp icing sugar, extra

Puree two punnets of raspberries with the icing sugar and the Kirsch. Pass through a fine sieve then divide amongst six plates.

Hull and quarter the strawberries then carefully combine with the blueberries, leftover raspberries and the diced kiwifruit.

Spoon the berries onto the plates, add a spoon of whipped cream and finish with a dusting of icing sugar. Serve at once.