Shades of Green
1 ripe avocado
A handful of iceberg lettuce
1/2 a cucumber
1/2 a red onion
1 green onion stalk
1/2 a teaspoon of nigella seeds
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
4 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
A pinch of salt
1 green chilli finely sliced (optional)
1/2 a teaspoon of chilli flakes (optional)
1. Cut the avocado into chunks and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil to fully cover the surface of the avocado. Cut the lettuce into chunks roughly about the size of the avocado. Cut a cucumber in half and slice it into ribbons using a vegetable peeler or a mandolin. Roll each individual ribbon onto itself tightly so it retains its shape. Dice half a red onion very finely. Slice the stalk of green onion finely. Slice the green chilli finely, slicing the chilli diagonally gives it a prettier appearance (optional).
2. Assemble the avocado, lettuce and cucumber rolls onto a small flat plate into a presentation of your choice. Sprinkle the red onion, spring onion, nigella seeds, green chilli (optional) and chilli flakes (optional) onto the salad. Mix in 1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice and 3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil and add in a good pinch of salt to make the dressing. Drizzle this on top of the salad.
My husband often demands a simple green salad and this salad came together from what was in my fridge one evening. Although simple it has bags of flavour. The red onion, spring onion and nigella seeds all provide different layers of the piquant onion flavour which complement the botanical creaminess of the avocado really well. While the green chilli provides a fresh sweet heat the chilli flakes add an earthy spiciness to the salad which washes away with the coolness of the cucumber. The crunch of the iceberg provides texture and the zesty freshness of the lemon lifts the dish up perfectly.
TIP: I have used many techniques to stop my avocadoes from browning and have found this to be the most useful. Avocados oxidize when a certain enzyme in their flesh is exposed to oxygen in the air. Although the conventional method to stop an avocado from oxidizing is by covering it in lemon juice, I personally find this technique not completely effective. By covering the avocado in the oil, a barrier is created between the flesh of the avocado and the air surrounding it and hence the avocado does not change its colour.