Salad Greens

Rocket Pesto

In food processor, finely chop pine nuts and garlic clove. Add rocket; pulse until coarsely chopped.

With processor running, slowly add olive oil until smooth. Add lemon juice, grated Parmesan, salt and pepper; pulse until incorporated. Serve over fish, chicken, steak or lamb.

Pizza with Prosciutto

& Rocket

Brush pizza dough round with tomato sauce; top with shredded mozzarella and thin prosciutto strips.

Bake at the highest setting in your oven or in your pizza maker on preheated baking stone until crust is crisp.

Toss rocket with olive oil, lemon juice and salt. Scatter over pizza along with shaved Parmesan.

Pasta with Rocket

& Shallots

Sauté sliced shallots in olive oil until tender. Add minced garlic and lemon zest; sauté until fragrant.

Add rocket; cook until just wilted.

Add cooked and drained pasta; toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Sprinkle with grated pecorino romano.

Spinach Dip

Sauté spinach in olive oil. Squeeze dry; chop coarsely.

Combine spinach, sautéed onion, minced garlic, cream cheese, mayonnaise, grated Parmesan, chilli flakes, salt and pepper.

Transfer to baking dish; sprinkle with grated Parmesan. Bake at 200°C until bubbly.

Butter Lettuce Salad

with Buttermilk Dressing

Whisk together buttermilk, minced shallot, mayonnaise, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, chopped chives, salt and pepper.

Toss torn butter lettuce leaves with dressing.

Little Gem Salad

with Radishes

Whisk together sherry vinegar, honey, Dijon mustard, minced shallot, walnut oil, salt and pepper.

Toss Little Gem lettuce leaves, shaved radishes and croutons with vinaigrette.

Availability

Tender heads of Little Gem and loose-leaf mixes are available year-round in Australian supermarkets and farmers' markets but spring feels like the most fitting time to enjoy them in fresh and vibrant salads.

Selecting

Look for fresh, crisp leaves free of blemishes, yellowed spots or tiny insect holes. Do not buy greens if they are wilted or dried out. Small, young leaves will have a milder flavour, and more and more greens are now available as tender "baby" leaves. Look for greens tied in bunches or washed, chopped and sealed in plastic bags. Baby greens are sold in bulk or in plastic bags.

Preparing

Store greens unwashed in plastic bags. Although best if eaten the day of purchase, soft-leaved greens will keep for up to 4 days in a plastic bag in the crisper of the refrigerator.

Storing

Immerse greens in a large bowl or sink filled with cool water. Discard any wilted or yellowed leaves. Gently lift out the greens and repeat the washing until the water is clear. A salad spinner is ideal for drying greens, but shaking them gently in a clean tea towel will also absorb excess moisture. Be sure to dry the greens as much as possible, especially if using them for salad, as excess water will dilute the dressing and prevent it from coating the leaves. If you have time, put the washed greens in the refrigerator to crisp.