This dish of avocados with sun-dried tomatoes, mozzarella slices, artichokes hearts and crisp bacon is a superb main course salad packed with flavours. The tomatoes can be bought dried, and need soaking in water to soften before use, or in oil in a jar ready for use. Supermarkets stock them.
Serves: 4; Prep time: 20 mins; Cook time: 5 mins
Approximate nutritional values per portion: 600 calories; 17g protein; 50g fat; 10g carbohydrate
Ingredients: 6oz (175g) back bacon, derided and chopped; 1 tblsp oil; 4oz (100g) sun-dried tomatoes in oil; 14oz (400g) canned artichokes hearts; 6oz (175g) mozzarella; 1 avocado; lemon juice
For the dressing: 4 tblsp olive oil; 1 tblsp white wine vinegar; 1 clove garlic, crushed; ½ tsp Dijon mustard; salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Fry the bacon in a little oil until crisp. Drain on kitchen paper. Reserve. Cut sun-dried tomatoes into thick strips. Quarter artichoke hearts and cut mozzarella into thin slices. Place these in a bowl with the bacon and tomatoes.
- Peel and coarsely chop the avocado. Drizzle with lemon juice, then add to bowl.
- Shake all the dressing ingredients together in a screw-top jar then pour over contents of the bowl. Toss gently to avoid damaging the avocado. Serve immediately.
Other Italian recipes
Something for serving the salad.
Ingredients: 4 tbsp olive oil; ½ tbsp Dijon mustard; 1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped; 2 tbsp white or red wine vinegar; 4oz/100g chicory leaves; 4oz/100g rocket leaves; 4 slices French bread; 4 small firm-textured goats’ cheeses (approximately 2½oz/65g each) or a 10oz/300g goats’ cheese log, cut into 4 slices; 2oz/50g butter; 2oz/50g hazelnuts, roughly chopped
- Put the oil, Dijon mustard, garlic and vinegar in a screw-top jar and shake well. Arrange the chicory and rocket leaves on 4 plates.
- Place the bread slices and chunks of cheese separately on a baking sheet. Spread butter over the cheese, cover with the hazelnuts and cook under a preheated grill for 2-3 mins or until the cheese is evenly browned and the bread is toasted.
- Place a piece of toasted bread on each plate next to the salad leaves. Carefully place the cheese and hazelnuts on top and drizzle a little dressing over the toasties and salad. Serve immediately.
Cook time: 10 mins
Ingredients: finely pared rind and juice of 1 lime; 2 tbsp thai fish sauce; 2 tsp caster sugar; 2 garlic cloves, crushed; 2 green chillis, seeded and finely chopped; 2 mangoes, peeled, stoned and cut into matchstick strips; 2 carrots, cut into matchstick strips; 2 carrots, cut into matchstick strips; 2 courgettes, cut into matchstick strips. To garnish: mint sprigs
- Cut the lime rind into thin matchstick strips. Place the lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, garlic and chillis in a bowl and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Place the fruit and vegetables in a bowl and toss with the dressing. Sprinkle with the lime strips and serve garnished with mint sprigs.
- A piquant mix of sharp, sweet and hot, this salad makes an unusual starter or it can accompany a spicy main course.