Green Black-eyed Pea (ambelofasoula) Salad with Tomato Vinaigrette

Blanched ambelofasoula (green black-eyed peas) are the most sought-after and expensive summer salad in Greece and usually accompanies grilled or fried fish. The word ‘ambelofasoula’ means ‘vineyard beans’ and it is only used for the green black-eyed peas; maybe the prolific plants were planted close to the vines in the old days. The dressing is inspired by a recipe I got from the island of Kythera, where it was used on vlita(blanched amaranth shoots). It is a wonderful dressing for blanched broccoli, cauliflower or any kind of blanched greens.

Green-Blac-eyed-Pea-Salad_430

Serves 3-4 (more…)

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Za’tar, the spice blend

I heard that in the old days, Lebanese schoolchildren ate warm pita bread spread with a mixture of za’tar and olive oil before leaving home on exam days. People believe that the fragrant spice, herb and sesame mixture gives strength and clears the mind. The sweet flavor of toasted sesame seeds is wonderfully complemented by the red, sour-tart sumac in this classic Arab spice blend. There are many version of the spice mixture throughout the Middle East:The green Lebanese za’tar consists of toasted sesame seeds mixed with just the local herb za’tar and sumac. In Syria the gold-colored blend may have more spices –cumin, paprica, caraway, fennel seeds etc.

Oil--Zaatar

The particular kind of Syrian or Lebanese thyme –za’tar in Arabic — is different from the Greek or the European common thyme, or the hyssop that you will see listed in some recipes for the spice mixture. As the particular kind of Middle Eastern herb is not readily available, I prefer to use a combination of dried thyme and savory. But as with all spice mixtures, the ingredients and proportions are a matter of taste, so feel free to experiment with the variations, additions and substitutions that you prefer. (more…)

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Paximadia Salad with Tomatoes, Feta and Capers

The crumbled hard rusks steeped in the juices of the chopped tomatoes and the spicy aromatic olive oil sauce acquire a superb flavor and texture. Lighter biscuits get mushy. Prepare the salad 1-3 hours in advance, but toss just before serving.

6-paximadi-Salad

Paximadi Salad can be a full summer lunch, perfect for pick nicks at the beach. I make it in a large container and serve it under the beach ombrella in our attractive re-usable plastic pick nick bowls. The chunky salad can be eaten with a spoon or fork, and we often enjoy it sipping the crisp fruity white or rose wine that we take to the beach in a cooler. (more…)

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Zahter Salad: Thyme, Parsley, and Onions, in Pomegranate Molasses dressing

Adapted from Musa Dagdeviren, as presented at the 2008 World of Flavors Conference.

A pungent, aromatic salad/condiment, which is an ideal accompaniment to grilled fish, meat and poultry. I love it also with steamed potatoes and cauliflower.

The dark, tart-fruity pomegranate molasses, preferably homemade, complements beautifully this unusual mixture of herbs.

 

Serves 6-8   (more…)

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