I can’t be alone in wanting new salad ideas as it’s easy to get into a rut and stick to the safe and true. Inevitably it’s the dressing where I make changes to go with my favourite summer vegetables and fruits: I want it to gently coax the flavours out of the other ingredients, to surprise and delight and to make the easy meals of summer big on taste.

It’s a time of the year when I’m more likely to barbecue than roast, when cooked vegetables have time to cool and mingle with their dressing and when preparation is mostly fuss free. Proteins take a supporting role and are treated with a casual air: think plain grilled fish, crisp fried tofu or chilled poached chicken.

While the dressing might grab all the attention, the base of vegetables, pulses or grains are the foundation. I think about how I want to eat them. Does, say, a cucumber benefit from being cut into rough chunks or is the dish more harmonious if it is cut into rounds? Does the onion need softening to temper its harsh edge? The finish is often something textural or a jolt of flavour – the crunch of toasted nuts or seeds, the creamy softness of a cheese, the bracing umami bomb of an anchovy. All these combine to make a salad a bright highlight of the meal.