Thomasina Miers’ Californian apricot salad – recipe | The Simple Fix | Food

Californian food is sunshine food: fresh, crisp and golden. Like Mexico, the state grows bountiful fruit and vegetables, and it is this fresh produce that seems to define its cuisine.

Vegan food is all the rage on the West Coast, and you could adapt this salad by swapping the burrata for an equally creamy and delicious avocado. Serve as a starter or as part of a beautiful alfresco feast.

Apricot salad with burrata, kale and crunchy seeds

If you can’t find burrata, use mozzarella tossed in a little olive oil and creme fraiche instead.

Prep 30 min
Cook 20 min
Serves 4-6

8 ripe apricots, halved and stones removed
2 tsp soft brown sugar
3 tbsp olive oil
Salt and black pepper

2 tsp chopped oregano or thyme leaves
200g kale, tough stems removed
2 baby gem lettuces, separated into leaves
2 large, ripe beef tomatoes, cut into chunks
1 large handful mint leaves
4 small burrata or 2 larger ones

For the seeds
200g pumpkin seeds
1 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp soft brown sugar

For the dressing
1 tsp dijon mustard
3-4 tsp chardonnay or other white wine vinegar
6 tsp soft brown sugar
120ml extra-virgin olive oil

Heat the oven to 200C (180C fan)/390F/ gas 6. Arrange the apricot halves cut side up on a roasting tray and sprinkle with the sugar, two tablespoons of olive oil, and plenty of salt and pepper. Scatter the herbs over the apricots, then roast for about 20 minutes, until golden.

Lay the pumpkin seeds on a separate roasting tray, mix with the olive oil, paprika, soy sauce and sugar, then season. Roast in the same oven for 10-12 minutes, stirring halfway cooking, until nicely toasted and puffed up. Set both the apricots and seeds aside to cool.

Meanwhile, shred the kale leaves with a large chopping knife, then put them in a large bowl with another tablespoon of olive oil and a big pinch of salt. Massage the oil into the kale with your hands for three to four minutes, until it begins to wilt and soften. Add the lettuce, tomatoes and mint leaves to the bowl.

To make the dressing, mix the mustard and vinegar in a jar with half a teaspoon of salt, the sugar and olive oil.

Toss the salad in the dressing, taste, then adjust the seasoning with more sugar, salt or vinegar, as required. Arrange on one large plate or divide between four individual plates, then top with the apricot halvesIf serving on one large plate, tear over the burrata and scatter with half the seeds (reserve the rest for another time). If you are using individual plates, nestle a burrata in among the middle of the salad and scatter with seeds. Serve straight away.

And for the rest of the week

I love roast apricots with vanilla or saffron ice-cream. Drizzle the apricots with a teaspoon of orange blossom, some vanilla sugar and chopped pistachios before roasting as above. Leftover seeds are great scattered over stir-fries, pasta or other salads for a delicious crunch.