Multi-tasking mint finds a new home in a recipe for a warm salad.
Every summer I enjoy fresh mint from my own little garden. I grow three quite common types: pepper, lemon and Water Mint. All three work really well for cooking and I use them regularly in teas or as a flavor in different kinds of drinks. A few crumpled leaves together with elderflower cordial are a perfect match (with or without gin). Crushed with ice and Lime Mint makes for fantastic mojitos or a refreshing ingredient in a Pimm’s Cup.
It’s easy to grow mint but if you’re not careful, mint plants can rapidly take over your garden plot. Their roots are aggressive and hard to exterminate, so best to plant them in pots or at an unused part of the garden where they can grow freely without interfering with other growing treasures.
There are many different types of mint, some more common and others more rare. A more rare example are mint plants that have the scent of different kinds of fruits such as pineapple and strawberries. There is even a mint that has a clear flavor of chocolate. Not sure what I would do with this kind of mints but it’s funny as pineapple, strawberries and chocolate are all great companions to mint. For example in this strawberry salad, you can switch basil for regular mint.
Earlier this year in Marrakesh, I got inspired by the simple way they use mint in different kinds of salads. The salads were often just tomato, peppers and red onion cut into tiny pieces and blended together with finely chopped mint leaves, a squeeze of lemon and olive oil. Simple and delicious.
Anna Brones‘s mother makes a fresh mint pesto and it sounds perfect drizzled over a potato salad or even a grilled lamb chop. When the summer is here you may prefer something cool to eat instead of hot meals from the stove. A fresh red pepper and tomato salsa is an excellent choice. And a watermelon and feta salad makes a perfect starter or as a side for grilled meat and vegetables.
One of my latest treats is this simple and warm Zucchini & Feta Salad that is great to serve together with vegetable patties.
Warm Zucchini & Feta Salad
(for 2-4 people)
One – two zucchini
Some chili (fresh or flakes)
One or two clove of garlic
¼ lb (100 g) feta
About 10 leaves of fresh mint
Wash the zucchini and cut thin slices along the long side (you may want to cut the zucchini in half crosswise first). Sprinkle some salt and olive oil over. Heat up a pan with some chili and fry the zucchini slices at a semi high heat (you may also put them on the grill or roast them if you like). Just take a few at a time as they shouldn’t touch each other while cooking. When the slices start to brown, turn them over. Just before they are done squeeze some garlic over. When the garlic has melted and the zucchini has a nice color, transfer them over to a serving dish. Repeat until all zucchini slices are done. Squeeze some lime and drip it all over the salad. Cut or crumble the feta and sprinkle it over the salad together with finely chopped mint. Season with salt and pepper if needed. Serve immediately.
Illustration by Johanna Kindvall