Photo: Kelly Rossiter
One of my favourite flavour combinations is olive and lemon. There is something about the mixture of salty and tart that I find endlessly appealing. We have had record high temperatures in Toronto for the past two days and the snow has almost all melted. With the bright sunshine I could almost envision myself sitting outside a Greek taverna with this salad in front of me. Well, if I look straight up at the blue sky, that is.The cheese store where my son works has a wonderful Bulgarian feta cheese that is quite lemony, and I thought it would compliment the salad nicely. I used my own preserved lemons, which are really easy to do, but they take about six weeks to mature, so you'll have to buy them if you don't already have them on hand. Using preserved lemons is totally different from using fresh. It's the rind you use with the preserved lemons rather than the flesh and they are super salty, giving a real zing to a dish.
Taste this salad before adding any salt to it. Both the olives and the preserved lemons are salty, as is the feta cheese. This would be a wonderful light lunch with a crisp white wine.
This recipe is from the website Food52.
Olive Salad Taverna
1 cup mixed olives, pitted
1 cup garbanzos, cooked, or rinsed canned
2 teaspoons preserved lemon, finely minced
2 teaspoons shallot, finely minced
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1 teaspoon fresh savory or thyme, minced
1/2 teaspoon chile flakes
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon pomegranate molasses
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
1 head butter leaf lettuce
Hunks of feta and pita, optional
1. In a mixing bowl combine everything up to the olive oil. Mix everything to combine. Season it with black pepper and then add the olive oil. Stir to coat and then let the salad rest for at least 1 hour and you can even refrigerate it over night. Ask a question about this step.
2. Before serving rinse the butter leaf and then using a salad spinner dry the lettuce. Place two or three leaves on each plate. Stir the salad to redistribute everything. Taste and if it needs salt add some. Divide the garganzo/olive mixture evenly between the plates. Using a spoon drizzle some of the juice over the greens.