I seem to be on a gazpacho kick these past few weeks--in the warmer, humid weather it really hits the spot and you have to love anything that takes just a few minutes to prepare in the morning and sits chilling in the fridge and mingling flavors until it's ready to eat. The ultimate in effortless cooking.
The theme this week for I Heart Cooking Clubs is "We Be Chillin"--all about cold foods and I found a recipe for a simple Greek Salad on Jamie's Oliver's website here. I love Greek salads, so flavorful and cooling, and then when I saw Jamie's suggestion to whirl the leftovers in a blender and make soup, I was sold. With last week's Cucumber-Lychee Gazpacho and Ming Tsai's Gazpacho with Shiso Oil the week prior, I am calling this Greek Salad Gazpacho "my third entry in my Summer Unique Gazpacho Series." (It sounds much better than "I was lazy and made Gazpacho three weeks in a row" doesn't it?!)Jamie says, "This salad is known and loved around the world. Those of you who’ve been lucky enough to eat this salad in Greece will know that when it’s made well it’s absolute heaven. Hopefully this recipe will help you achieve the big bold authentic flavours that it's known for. The trick is to pay attention to the small details that make it so wonderful: things like finding the ripest tomatoes, good Greek olive oil, beautiful olives, creamy feta and lovely herbs.
P.S. I’ve been known to pop leftover Greek salad into a liquidizer with a splash of extra virgin olive oil and a few ice cubes, then blitz it up to a smooth consistency so it's basically a Greek gazpacho. It’s not a classic thing to do, but it is very delicious, not to mention a great way of using up leftovers!"
Greek Salad (& Greek Salad Gazpacho)
(Makes 4 Servings)
1 medium ripe tomato (1 used 3 small Roma tomatoes)
200g ripe cherry tomatoes (I used 1 cup multi-colored cherry tomatoes)
1 beefsteak tomato
1 medium red onion, peeled
1 green pepper (I used red bell pepper)
a handful of fresh dill
a handful of fresh mint leaves
a large handful of black olives, stoned
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
3 Tbsps good-quality
Greek extra virgin olive oil
200g block of feta cheese
1 tsp dried oregano
(I added 2 Tbsp capers, drained)
I think it’s quite nice to have different shapes and sizes in a salad, so cut your medium tomato into wedges, halve the cherry tomatoes and slice the beef tomato into large rounds. Put all the tomatoes into a large salad bowl. Slice the onion very finely so it’s wafer thin and add to the tomatoes. Scratch a fork down the sides of the cucumber so it leaves deep grooves in the skin, then cut it into thick slices. Deseed your pepper, slice it into rings and add them to the salad along with the cucumber.
Roughly chop the dill and most of the mint leaves, reserving the smaller ones for garnish. Add the chopped herbs to the bowl of salad, then squeeze your handful of olives over so they season the vegetables, then drop them in.
Add a pinch of salt, the vinegar and the extra virgin olive oil. Quickly toss everything together with your hands. The minute all those flavours start working with the veg is when the magic starts to happen. Have a taste, and adjust the flavours if need be.
To serve, pop the block of feta right on the top of the salad. Sprinkle the oregano over the top along with the reserved mint leaves, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and take it straight to the table. It’s confident and scruffy with a bit of attitude. Delicious.
Notes/Results: This simple salad is full of the flavors of the herbs and veggies and perfect for a warm summer's lunch of dinner. The key as Jamie mentions is to use the freshest and best ingredients you can find. I of course had to add a couple of tablespoons of capers, just because. ;-) I ate a couple of servings of the salad and then put most of the rest in the blender, without the feta and saving out some of the salad mix to top off the soup bowls. When blended, the fresh taste of the herbs comes out even more and it is a nice change from regular gazpacho, with the Greek flavors. I would make both the salad and the soup again.
You can see how the other IHCC participants chilled this week by going to the post here, and following the links.
Now let's take a look in the Souper Sundays kitchen and see who is here.
Also rockin' the gazpacho this week is Lauren from Healthy. Delicious. here with a fruity Watermelon Gazpacho. She says, "Loaded with cucumber and yellow bell pepper and enriched with an almond-cilantro pesto, this gazpacho doesn’t have the cloying sweetness of so many other fruit-based soups — you definitely won’t mistake it for dessert! Requiring little more than a blender and a refrigerator, it’s the perfect way to beat the summer heat. Serve it with a side of store-bought breadsticks for a satisfying dinner that even the staunchest tomato-hater will love."
Carol of There's Always Thyme to Cook has Jamie Oliver's Red Pepper Summer Soup to share and says, "Have to say, we're kind of iffy with cold soup so I served it room temperature. We loved it. Definitely a keeper, and easy as can be. Didn't have to use the oven and heat up the kitchen, on top of the stove worked out really well. Love this recipe. Very quick and very easy. Had more than a few grape tomatoes that were a bit past their prime as far as serving in a salad but cooked down they added tremendous flavor."
Kim from Stirring the Pot tried Ina's Roasted Shrimp Salad and although it wasn't the recipe for her she thought others might enjoy it. Kim says, "The major problem with this recipe for me was that there was just too much flavor. "Too much flavor" usually isn't ever an issue for me, but in this case I felt that the flavor of the shrimp was masked by the other ingredients. While I love the flavors of orange zest, dill, capers, and red onion it was just a little too much for the delicate flavors of the shrimp. However, this recipe has received a five star rating on the Food Network and quite a few people have sung it's praises, so it could be that it's just me."
Tigerfish from Teczcape - An Escape to Food made an Arugula, Grapefruit and Radish Salad and says, "Salads eases us into hot summer. Last year, it was smoothie craze. This year, salads. For today, this salad is made from farm-fresh radish (red, white, pink), juicy grapefruit, peppery arugula, sprinkled with some plump sweet raisins. The balance of flavors is right on the spot! Peppery, tangy, citrus, sweet. Additionally, the salad also offers a variety of textures in a mouthful - the radish crunch, plump and juicy grapefruit with the firm-tender leaves of arugula, chewy raisins."
Roz of la bella vita has a Panzanella--Italian Tomato, Bread and Basil Salad to share. She says, "Bread is perfect for mopping up sauces and broth! That's the basic idea of this wonderful, traditional Italian, fresh tomato and bread salad known as "Panzanella": crusty, hefty, day-old bread chunks tossed into tomatoes, onions, and fresh basil with a vinaigrette dressing. This simple and delicious salad is a creation from the central region of Italy. Panzanella is also another great way to use those juicy tomatoes that are in the peak of the season. You won't even have to use the oven or stove; it's a cold, lovely, and light salad full of rich flavor!"
Graziana of Erbe in Cucina is here with a Salad with Basil Vinaigrette. She says, "What to do with a small basil harvest, too little to prepare the pesto, but too much to use as a condiment, few leaves at a time? I had harvested some vegetables and greens to be consumed raw in a salad, so I decided to use basil for an aromatic dressing. This vinaigrette is the perfect dressing for many salads. If you are curious, I used sorrel, purslane, rainbow and rhubarb chards, purple beauty pepper, cucumber lemon and some lemon plum tomatoes."
Elizabeth of The Law Student's Cookbook made a Grilled Mozzarella "BST" sandwich and says, "Rather than the beloved BLT sandwiches that are filled with bacon, lettuce, and tomato this sandwich features my favorite green: spinach. ... In terms of my greens, I really don't like lettuce. I find it boring, flavorless, and I would just much rather eat something else. It also doesn't hurt that spinach is full of healthy ingredients to keep a girl strong and healthy (that girl being me of course)."
Finally Joanne of Eats Well With Others isn't a fan of the cucumbers she has been getting in her CSA box but she has found the perfect use for them in this Smoked Salmon and Ricotta-Dill Sandwich with Cucumbers. She says, "... And then it dawned on me. The only two sandwich toppings that could make cucumbers worth ingesting. Ricotta. And smoked salmon. Yum. Throw some CSA dill into the mix that had been sitting on my counter for...days. Let's go with days. And you've got yourself some sandwich."
Wonderful soups, salads and sandwiches this week. Thank you to everyone who sent in their dishes. If you would like to join in sometime, just click on the Souper Sundays logo on my side bar for all of the details.
BTW: There is still time to enter to win your own copy of French Lessons by Ellen Sussman and get swept away to Paris. Enter here and check out my review and a recipe for some yummy fig relish too.
Have a happy, healthy week!