Sometimes spring calls for a simple salad--preferably enjoyed outside. I was going to take this little salad, adapted from a recipe sketch from Nigel Slater, down to the beach for a proper outdoor "picnic" shot but it has been so breezy the last couple of weeks that I feared that the sand would have been a plentiful but unwelcome addition. I decided to photograph it in my backyard instead and this afternoon while warm, was drab, grey and still a bit too windy for anything not held down by a chickpea or olive chunk. ;-) So, I set up a woven green plastic place mat, used my picnic-ready plastic plate, and took the photos indoors. You gotta do what you gotta do, even when you live in paradise...
I took Nigel's basic ingredients, and to make it more of a meal than a side salad, added canned chickpeas to the mix and spiced almonds for a little crunch. Served with toasted bread spread with some of this fabulous leftover Spicy Feta & Red Pepper Dip and a favorite bottled lemonade, it made even a house picnic lunch a pleasure.
Baby Lettuce, Green Olives and Lemon Oil (with Chickpeas & Spiced Almonds)
Adapted from Nigel Slater via The Guardian
"Little Gem, Green Olives and Lemon Oil
stoned green olives. Marinate them for an hour or so in lemon olive oil
(sold in good delicatessens, this is olive oil that has had fresh lemons
thrown into the pressing), coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley, and salt
and black pepper. (I added canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed to the mix and wanting more lemon flavor than my lemon olive order provided, I added a couple of squeezes of lemon juice and it's zest.) Separate the salad leaves, then toss with the
marinated olives. (I topped it with spiced sliced almonds.) Great with grilled sardines."
Notes/Results: A simple little salad with good flavors and texture--satisfying but not heavy. The lemon olive oil adds a light flavor to the chickpeas and local baby lettuce that matches well with the briny olives. Since the pitted olives I found were large, I quartered them before letting them sit in the oil with the chickpeas and chopped parsley. I used a good amount of freshly ground black pepper but just a light touch of sea salt--there were enough olives to make it salty. A fork is polite but to be honest, I mostly used it to push all the goodies onto the little lettuce leaves and ate them by hand. It was a picnic remember! ;-) I felt like the changes I made gave it more of the taste I was looking for (especially the extra lemon) and it all blended well together. I would make it again.
This week's I Heart Cooking Clubs theme is What's In Your Picnic Basket?--featuring more portable Nigel Slater recipes to be enjoyed in your favorite indoor or outdoor picnic spot. You can see what dishes everyone made by checking out the picture links on the post.
Happy Aloha Friday!