Salads aren’t my best friend, not after I was compelled to eat more of this raw medley to keep the calories at bay. With being in a salad straitjacket most of the time, I studiously avoid looking at the salad bar during banquets. I mean it’s not fair to restrict oneself to greens as the world feasts. At least that’s what I’d like to think, to absolve myself of temporary qualms of conscience.
Salads, however, can be relished if well dressed with the right accompaniments. As we are now into Grecian fare, it would do well to include a Greek salad or two. It’s not unfair to pack in some salads here because we have a spread of delicious soup, gyro and casserole (see previous blog posts).
That this salad flaunts olives, herbs and cheese is but natural, especially to Greeks. Note that iceberg lettuce is a common ingredient in most of my salads because of one primary reason. Did you know that lettuce has no nutritional value! A great filler that keeps you chewing with no risk of a calorie attack.
So do wedge in a few of these salads even if they aren’t as toothsome. Here goes,
LEAFY GREENS SALAD
- 3 bunches of spinach (cut in strips, without stems)
- 1 medium tomato (chopped to medium-sized pieces)
- 1 medium onion (finely chopped)
- 3 to 4 tablespoons dark olives
- 8 to 9 iceberg lettuce leaves
- 2 to 3 cubes cheese (grated, Amul brand is great)
- A fourth to a half teaspoon black pepper powder
- A half teaspoon chilli flakes
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar (spicy & tangy taste)
- 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
The Making of the Salad
- Heat olive oil as customary, adding onions and tomatoes and stirring for a couple of minutes. When I refer to a couple, I mean literally two minutes.
- Next add vinegar, pepper, salt, chilli flakes and stir again.
- Now plop the spinach leaves, and prop up the “gas on high” to not allow the leaves to emit water. Stir for four to five minutes.
- Top with grated cheese, olives, and “cool”. As indicated in my previous Grecian recipes, all items need to be “cooled” before proceeding with the next step.
- Break some lettuce and arrange them on the top.
- Garnish with some more grated cheese just before serving.
- Lemon juice
- 4 to 5 cubes cheese (grated, Amul brand will do)
- 3 to 4 tablespoons dark olives (drain the water in which they are soaked )
- 4 boiled egg whites (finely chopped)
- 400 grams potatoes (boiled, then finely chopped)
- 1 large tomato (chopped)
- 2 to 3 baby onions (chopped)
- A half teaspoon pepper powder
- A half teaspoon mixed herbs
- A half teaspoon chilli flakes
- A pinch of basil powder
- 2 teaspoons salt
- Olive oil
Putting the Salad together
- Pour a modest amount of olive oil into a pan. Add chilli flakes and pepper soon after, taking care not to let the oil overheat for apparent reasons. Its monosaturated fats lose its significance and are reduced to the level of regular cooking oils.
- Then drop in the chopped potatoes, turn the gas on high and fry for two to three minutes till a crunch.
- Add onions, and stir. Add salt, lime juice, tomatoes, stir again for say, a minute.
- Add the chopped egg whites, stir again.
- Follow this by adding mixed herbs, dark olives and sprinkle basil powder over it.
- You may top it up with grated zucchini, but there is no compulsion to do so.
Good to prepare an hour prior to serving, not too early nor too late lest the salad gets soggy or lest you miss the dinner table engagement while getting caught in the process of chopping and measuring and what else!
A Word of Advice
Don’t eat the salads in isolation; if you do, don’t blame it on me if its taste is bland as common to some Mediterranean / Greek salads. Bland to the Indian palate, that is. You’d have to pair the salads with the mains, to make it a meaningful meal. A recipe of the mains in the form of Greek Casserole will follow in the next article.