Monday, January 4, 2010

Rethinking Salad

A while ago Keja mentioned that the way you cut the ingredients of a salad can drastically change how it tastes, often alleviating the boredom of a mid-winter salad (she also suggested not eating salad out of season but we'll pretend we didn't read that!). And she was right! The salad below is almost a salsa or chutney, rather than a traditional leaf-based dish.

This recipe comes from my friend Caitrin. It's based on Israeli salad and she has refined it over the years. She says that the scallions are key to a traditional Israeli salad but in a pinch I used shallots and it was delicious. I've also used only green pepper, seeded an English cucumber, and forgotten to add cheese. The point is, it's going to be delicious!

Caitrin's Israeli Salad

Serves 4 to 6 salad-hungry adults

1/2 red bell pepper

1/2 green bell pepper or Italian green pepper

1/2 large European seedless cucumber or 3-4 Persian cucumbers

4 - 6 scallions

2 medium-large tomatoes

Lettuce - as much or as little as you want- Caitrin often uses a half or third of a head

1/4 bunch of cilantro

1 ripe avocado

Feta (sheep's milk is much better) use as much as desired

1 lemon, juiced

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup olive oil, the darker the better

Chop all vegetables fine (aim for 1/8 to 1/4 inch pieces) and put in a bowl. The trick to having it taste so good is that you spend time cutting everything very small (especially the cilantro, lettuce, and scallions).

Add the salt, pepper, lemon juice, and olive oil and toss it very well, get all of the juices very well mixed.

At times Caitrin also adds radish, or shredded carrot, even tuna.