Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Mediterranean Salad

I love the flavors of the Mediterranean, Greece especially. They are bright, crisp and fresh. Lemons, feta cheese, kalamata olives, olive oil, all great ingredients and when they are paired together in this salad, it's like an explosion in your mouth. I found a blend in my local grocery store that contained Israeli couscous which is bigger then those tiny seeds that you mostly see marketed as couscous as well as tri-colored orzo pasta, which looks like rice, and red quinoa which is a great source of protein. It was about 1 1/2 cups total. If you can't find a blend like this in your grocery store, you can substitute 1 cup of Israeli couscouse, 1/4 c orzo, and 1/4 c of quinoa. Mix this together in a pot with 2 cups of water, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover, leaving the lid vented and let simmer for 12 minutes. After that time, turn the heat off and let rest for 5 minutes before continuing.

What You Need:

1 1/2 c couscous blend, cooked to package directions
juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 cloves garlic
1/2 c extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
a small handful of fresh parsley
salt and pepper
1/2 English cucumber
1/2 c kalamata olives, halved
1/2 c feta cheese
5 or 6 sun dried tomatoes

What To Do:

While the pasta blend is cooking, make the dressing by grating the garlic into the lemon juice and zest. Add in the oregano but giving it a smush between your fingers to waken the oil and then slowly whisk in the extra virgin olive oil. Season with some salt and pepper. Stir in the parsley and once the pasta is finished cooking, stir that in as well. You want to stir the pasta with the vinaigrette while it's warm so that it sucks up all the flavors. Set it aside to cool while you get the rest of the salad together. Cut the cucumber down the middle and scrape out the few seeds with a spoon. Cut it into half moons and set aside. Slice the sun dried tomatoes into strips and then in half. Stir the cucumbers, olives, feta and tomatoes into the salad and serve at room temp, or chill and serve cold.

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