Thursday, 28 January 2010

WOW salad (Σαλάτα WOW)

I don't know why my life has suddenly become so busy. These days, I don't have time to do much more than go to work, prepare and cook meals, and do a general clean up of the house. Sometimes I eat spectacular meals, but I don't have time to tell you about them. This post may seem a bit rushed, but I am sure it will inspire you to try out this amazing salad, which doesn't really have a name, but everyone who tried it thought the same as I did: "Wow".

Here I present a spectacular vegetarian salad that probably everyone will enjoy, because they will all find something in it that they particularly like to eat, be it sweet or savoury. The chef at MAICh, John Apostolakis, makes this salad often in the winter, although it looks a little different to what I have presented here; he serves it up as student nosh, so it looks quite functional, but that feeling disappears when you try it. Eaten with some good quality sourdough bread, it is a complete meal.

You need:
some Cos lettuce, shredded (torn leaves don't work well here)
some citrus segments (chef uses orange segments cut in half, but grapefruit, tangerine or mandarin - which is what I used - also work well; make sure you remove the pith, as it spoils the texture of this salad)
some mushrooms, sliced thinly (canned mushrooms don't give the right flavour, but they will also do - I used some, ultra-expensive foodie-gourmet dried porcini mushrooms, reconstituted in white wine)
grated cheese, preferably something like Cretan graviera or regato
olive oil
balsamic vinegar
salt (optional)

Place the prepared lettuce and citrus fruit in a bowl. If using canned mushrooms, they must be drained very well before being added to the salad. The mushrooms (either fresh or canned) may be lightly sauteed in a little olive oil (like I did here) before being added to the salad, so that they wilt slightly but retain their shape and texture. Add them to the salad. The dressing depends on your personal preferences. Pour a few drops (or tablespoons as we would do in Crete!) of olive oil, and a little balsamic vinegar over the salad. Sprinkle with salt, again to your liking - warning: the cheese may be quite salty! Toss the salad lightly so that the ingredients are mixed well but the salad keeps its fullness.


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