Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Salad Week: Mediterranean Chopped Salad

Exhausted. I'm thankful for salad week because I am exhausted. This morning when I woke up I felt like a limp bunch of sea weed left hanging on the beach from the pounding retreat of high tide.

Also this morning, I was reminded of the last line of The Great Gatsby: "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past." It had me combing our bookshelves in the bedroom to find it before I even brushed my teeth. The first time I read that was about nine years ago, but I will never forget it because it seemed to me, so true. I'm revisited by those words often as life changes, as things fall apart and rebuild, as I clutch to things and let others go. At this very moment, I don't feel that the past is so much my problem as is the tumultuous present; nevertheless, the words are there in my head reminding me that I am quite small and yet not alone.

At least my dinners this week don't require a lot of work, special tricks, or clean up.

Last night I made a classic Mediterranean chopped salad, which was hearty--chock full of chick peas and calamata olives and cucumber. Plenty of parsley gives the dish a distinctive herby flavor. The only thing I might consider adding to this recipe would be a few spicy banana pepper rings for garnish.

This recipe makes A LOT of salad. It's the first dinner salad we haven't been able to finish. A perfect dish for the season of pot-lucking.

Mediterranean Chopped Salad

Serves 4 as a light entrée and 6 as a side dish. Published July 1, 2009. From Cook's Illustrated.


1 medium cucumber , peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 1 1/4 cups)
1 pint grape tomatoes , quartered (about 1 1/2 cups)
Table salt
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 medium garlic clove , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 teaspoon)
1 (14-ounce) can chickpeas , drained and rinsed
1/2 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives
1/2 small minced red onion (about 1/4 cup)
1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley
1 romaine heart , cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
4 ounces feta cheese , crumbled (about 1 cup)
Ground black pepper


1. Combine cucumber, tomatoes, and 1 teaspoon salt in colander set over bowl and let stand 15 minutes.

2. Whisk oil, vinegar, and garlic together in large bowl. Add drained cucumber and tomatoes, chickpeas, olives, onion, and parsley; toss and let stand at room temperature to blend flavors, 5 minutes.

3. Add romaine and feta; toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

1 comment:

  1. Let me add that this was a delicious, hearty salad. I would gladly eat this again as a main course, which is something coming from me. I've been viewing "salad week" as necessary purging and preparation for the Thanksgiving to come, but last night's salad didn't leave me feeling like a martyr at all!