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Garden peas, cauliflower, almonds and lemon salad


Chef, restaurateur, author and MasterChef judge George Calombaris draws on his Greek-Cypriot heritage for his sixth cookbook, Greek.

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He says Greek represents who he is today through the food, stories and people who have influenced him – it’s a “snapshot” of his mind, heart and memories.

The book features recipes that fuse tradition with his adventurous culinary spirit, such as taramasalata popcorn, ouzo-soaked cucumbers,  slow-cooked lamb and miso eggplant souvlaki, prawn saganaki, tortellini with tomato and mustard seed vinaigrette, Helenic mess and Bombe Metaxa.

Here, Calombaris shares a spring salad recipe that makes the most of in-season ingredients such as fresh peas, cauliflower and lemons.

“You may have heard of the saying, ‘When it rains pumpkins, make soup and sell it’,” he writes.

“Well in the same spirit I say when peas are in season, make this salad. It’s colourful, super-fresh and really yummy.

“For maximum flavour, make the sure the peas are at room temperature when you serve the salad.”

Garden peas, cauliflower, almonds and lemon salad


Recipe and images from ‘Greek’ by George Calombaris, $59.99, published by Lantern.


2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 brown onion, diced
300ml pure cream (45% fat)
500g cauliflower, trimmed and cut into small florets
1½ cups (240g) green peas
50g blanched almonds vegetable oil, for deep-frying
large handful of pea tendrils (optional)

Oregano salt

¼ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon salt flakes
¼ teaspoon caster sugar

Lemon dressing

1 tablespoon lemon juice
2½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil


Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat, add the onion and cook until translucent. Add the cream and half the cauliflower and simmer gently over low heat for 10-12 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently to avoid any colouration. Strain, reserving the cooking liquid. Transfer the cauliflower and onion to a blender and blend to a smooth puree, adding a little of the reserved cooking liquid as required.

Bring a small saucepan of water to the boil and cook the peas for 1 minute, then refresh in iced water. Drain.

Preheat the oven to 160C (fan-forced).

To make the oregano salt, combine the dried oregano, salt and sugar in a small bowl.

Toast the almonds in the oven for 10 minutes or until golden, then roughly chop and season with a little oregano salt.

To make the lemon dressing, whisk together the lemon juice and olive oil. Season to taste with oregano salt.

Heat the oil for deep-frying in a deep-fryer to 180C (or heat in a heavy-based pan until a cube of bread browns in 15 seconds). Add the remaining cauliflower florets and deep-fry until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon drain on paper towel. Season with oregano salt.

In a mixing bowl, combine the peas, cauliflower florets, almonds and lemon dressing.

Spoon the cauliflower puree onto a serving plate, top with the mixed salad and garnish with young pea tendrils (if using). Serve cold.

Serves 4

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