Potato, Walnut & Goat's Cheese Salad with Thyme Aioli
In honour of #meatfreeweek, I thought I'd pop this little salad on today. If you're eschewing all meat and fish products then the overall calorie content of a dish tends to go down (this is not a hard and fast rule!), so you can often afford to add some high fat ingredients instead. On this occasion, I used some nice crumbly goat's cheese for protein, and crushed up about five or six walnuts for ooomph.
The star of the show though is the homemade aioli, which is a piece of cake to do, but definitely makes you look at mayonnaise in a whole new light when you realise the amount of oil per tablespoon. I became completely obsessed with aioli / allioli in Mallorca and when I had the girls over for a tapas night last week I knew I had to make it, so I've just tweaked it with thyme for this salad.
Here's the recipe, if you can call it that:
Ingredients (serves one)
250 calories plus approx 100 calories per tablespoon aioli
Two large romaine lettuce leaves
Handful of shredded lettuce
Handful of shredded rocket
Handful diced cucumber
Six walnuts, chopped
Small potato, diced
25g soft goat's cheese
For the aioli:
One egg yolk
Loads of olive oil
One crushed clove garlic
Tsp Dijon mustard
Few sprigs of fresh thyme
Juice of half a lemon
Pinch of good salt like Maldon
Make the aioli by muddling the egg yolk, garlic and salt in a bowl with the mustard. Slowly - and I mean drop by drop - add olive oil, stirring all the time. The egg and oil should emulsify and produce something that looks like a mayonnaise albeit more yellow. Continue adding the oil slowly and stirring until you achieve the consistency and taste you desire. Adjust using the lemon juice. If you find that the aioli begins to split at any point simply add a few drops of water and continue stirring. If this still doesn't rescue it then crack another egg yolk in and continue, but you'll be looking at vast amounts of the stuff! Season using the thyme leaves.
For the salad, cook off your potato in an inch of water until just softened and the water has evaporated, then toss in a tiny bit of olive oil to crisp up. Leave to cool slightly while you assemble the remainder of the ingredients into the whole lettuce leaves. Top with the cooled potato and crumbled goat's cheese. Dress with a tiny squeeze of lemon and plenty of salt and pepper.