This is not the best thing in the world I cook - it's not even the fingernail on the hand of best thing I cook. But it's the thing I can't get enough of right now - it's a guilty pleasure, like the culinary equivalent of those weird satellite reality TV shows like When Good Pets Go Bad.
What is it? It's some sort of Waldorf caught in a freak nuclear accident sort of thing. Like The Fly, but with a salad. And no flies.
Like Waldorf, there apple, celery and walnuts in there, all mayonnaised up. But there's also a bit of carrot, some dry-fried pumpkin seeds and some chick peas, roasted in the oven for 20 minutes til they begin to crisp up and go a little more chewy, and with umeboshi seasoning poured over for the last few minutes.
There's even some shiso rice seasoning on top, which doesn't (as far as I can tell) add much to the party apart from a rather fun purpleness. Hey, sometimes, that's all you need to get the nod for inclusion into a recipe - it's why purple sprouting broccoli always seems that bit better than the non-purple kind.
Either way, I can't get enough of this at the moment. I make double batches so I always know there's a little in the fridge if I start getting a bit twitchy for it.
In order to justify my obsession with eating this, I tried to make it into some Japanese style arrangement - swapping the apple for nashi pear, adding a bit of soy to the pumpkin seeds as they roasted. It didn't work - the pear was too wet, the soy too salty.
So this salad had to stay as it is - just plain, just tasty, just one more bowl...