Friday, November 10, 2017

Jerusalem Salad

Last Year's Post: Lemony Green Beans with Toasted Almonds
Two Years Ago:  Dutch Baby

The reason I'm posting this particular recipe now is because Thanksgiving is coming up, which means one thing: leftover turkey.  Serving this salad in the days following Thanksgiving will accomplish several things, all good - it's a dramatic departure in taste from what you'll have been eating, it's very light and healthy, and it's very easy to make.  Since it's served at room temperature, it's also very accommodating for a house full of guests.  And if some of them happen to be vegetarians (or you are), this salad is excellent with tofu in place of turkey, or without either one because it has plenty of fiber and protein already.  It would be fun to set out a big bowl of each of the ingredients and let everyone make their own salad, taking as much or as little of each as they want.

I call this recipe Jerusalem Salad because I found its inspiration in a recipe from the cookbook "Jerusalem" by the famed chef Yotam Ottolenghi.  I'm a big fan of his Middle Eastern style of cooking and the flavors and textures of that cuisine.  The original recipe was for the vegetable salad and the spiced chickpeas; I added the rest of the ingredients to make it an entree salad.  But the vegetable salad and the chickpeas are the stars.  The vegetable salad isn't just tomatoes and cucumbers and onion, but adds radishes and red peppers for additional crunch and flavor.  It's delicious on its own.

The chickpeas are the exotic taste in the salad due to the spice mix of cardamom, cumin and allspice.  I toned down the amount of spice slightly from the original recipe solely due to personal preference.  My suggestion is to toss the chickpeas in the spice mix as written and then taste one before putting them in the skillet, adding more of one or all spices to your taste as desired.

The key to success for salads is to have a variety of textures, colors and flavors so I added pistachios for crunch, quinoa for nuttiness, and yogurt for creaminess.  Sumac is a fun garnish for the yogurt because it adds a little color and has a slightly sharp taste, but paprika would be a good substitute.  Or just don't worry about a garnish.  I'm aware that I worry more about garnishes than most people, although I'm not completely sure what that says about me.

Split, toasted pitas broken into large pieces are excellent served on the side.

Jerusalem Salad
Serves 4

Note: this salad is excellent served with toasted pita on the side.

For the dressing:
5 tablespoons olive oil
Grated zest of 1 lemon, plus 2 tablespoons juice
1 ½ tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 clove garlic, grated
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt and pepper

For the spiced chickpeas:
1 (15.5 oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (or the equivalent amount of dried chickpeas, cooked)
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil

For the salad:
½ English cucumber
2 cups cherry tomatoes
4-6 radishes, trimmed
1 red pepper, seeded and ribs removed
½ red onion
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/3 cup chopped Italian parsley
2 cups cooked couscous or quinoa
8 large leaves of Bibb or butter lettuce
½ cup pistachios, coarsely chopped
2 cups cooked shredded turkey or chicken, optional, or can use tofu instead
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
Ground sumac or paprika for garnish, optional

To make the dressing, combine all ingredients in a small jar with a lid and shake vigorously.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Set aside.

To make the spiced chickpeas, put the spices in a shallow bowl and mix well.  Add the drained chickpeas and stir to coat evenly.  Heat the 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet and toast the chickpeas in a single layer for 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid sticking (you may have to do 2 batches).  Set aside.

To make the vegetable salad, chop the cucumber, tomatoes, radishes, red pepper and red onion into bite-sized pieces.   Toss together with the cilantro and parsley.

To plate the salad, place 2 lettuce leaves on each of 4 plates.  Top with optional turkey, spiced chickpeas, vegetable salad, couscous or quinoa, and pistachios.  Add a dollop of yogurt to each plate and garnish with sumac or paprika, optional.  Drizzle with dressing and serve.

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