Antipasto Salad

Antipasto Salad

https://www.dinneratthezoo.com/antipasto-salad/

This has to be the richest, most decadent salad I’ve ever had; I almost feel like it doesn’t count as salad. I mean, there are leaves in there, which is technically the only requirement; but with all the rich toppings, it is, as advertised, basically an antipasto plate in salad form.

I got a local parmesan salami from our little corner grocery store (which I’m completely obsessed with; it might be the best part of moving here to rural New Brunswick). It’s called Kredl’s Market in Hampton. The interior has a great, old-fashioned, hewn-wood general store vibe, and the bakery inside turns out these incredible picture-perfect croissants and breads that smell amazing. They have all kinds of hard-to-find staples in bulk (hazelnuts, saffron rice, four different colors of quinoa), and they have a little cafe outside that uses local produce from the store. It’s also a garden center, which seems to magically have every plant I want in stock at all times, and they even deliver soil & compost. We spent hours one day last week driving around to every nursery in town, trying to find soil for my new raised beds; a few places had bulk prices, but they weren’t particularly good deals, and none would deliver. I was feeling pretty unhappy at the prospect of hauling 900 liters of soil in our car in bag form, but we stopped at Kredl’s for lunch and of course they had exactly what we needed. Best store ever; definitely worth a visit!

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Anyway, I digress. The key to this recipe is really high-quality ingredients, because the presentation is so simple. The dressing is a tasty mustard vinaigrette, very similar to my favorite Jamie Oliver jam jar French dressing:

http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/recipe/jam-jar-dressings/

I only added a little bit of the salami, which is super rich. My other toppings were kalamata olives (which I love and will add to almost anything), artichokes, sun dried tomatoes, and feta cheese. Pepperoncinis would have been great, but I couldn’t find them at my grocery store. I did throw on some roasted red peppers, which I made last week using this excellent tutorial by Tory Avey:

http://toriavey.com/how-to/2010/02/roasted-bell-peppers/

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I’m absolutely crazy about roasted vegetables; I was a vegetarian for many years, and I appreciated the way roasting concentrates and sweetens the flavor of even the most boring vegetables. (Zucchini, I’m looking at you.) I picked up some extra peppers last weekend (from Kredl’s!), and it was super easy to roast them using Tori’s oven method. It takes about an hour from start to finish, but most of that is what programmers call “wall time” (as in, the amount of time that passes according to the clock on the wall) – you only need to actively pay attention to them for five or ten minutes total. Definitely worth it; I’ve enjoyed having these on hand, and they’re great on burgers, salads, pizza, and lots of other stuff.

All in all, this was a tasty salad that I’ll definitely make again; very substantial and satisfying, in a way that salads usually aren’t.

Deliciousness score: 6
Easiness score: 7

Chopped Greek Salad

Chopped Greek Salad

https://www.dinneratthezoo.com/chopped-greek-salad/

If you’re a fan of Mediterranean flavors, this chopped salad from Dinner at the Zoo is a perfect, quick, refreshing way to enjoy lots of fresh veggies. The prep time is quite reasonable; there’s some chopping involved, but not a crazy amount. There’s a made-from-scratch Mediterranean dressing, which does turn out delicious and is fairly simple; most of the ingredients are pantry staples. I like to mix it up in the style of Jamie Oliver’s jam jar dressings; just throw everything in a small jar with a lid, then shake it vigorously for a few seconds. But if you’re short on time, you could easily substitute a pre-made salad dressing that you like.

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My only quibble with this recipe as written is that the dressing separated right away; the olive oil formed a layer on the bottom, topped with the vinegar and then the floating spices. I think the acid-to-oil ratio is a bit on the high side. The aforementioned jam jar dressings, which I always have great results with, are based on a 1-to-3 acid-to-oil ratio:

http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/recipe/jam-jar-dressings/

The Greek salad recipe calls for 2 Tbsp of vinegar and 1/4 cup (or 4 Tbsp) of olive oil, which is a 1-to-2 ratio. Next time, I’ll try leaving all the seasonings the same and adjusting this ratio. There are three teaspoons to a tablespoon, so for 4 tablespoons of olive oil, we’d want 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp of vinegar.

4 Tbsp x 3 tsp per Tbsp = 12 tsp of olive oil
12/3 = 4 tsp of vinegar
4 tsp = 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp

But of course you could just eyeball it. The goal is to have the dressing emulsify, so that all the acids are suspended in the oil and it doesn’t split itself into layers (at least not right away). But truthfully, even if your ratios are a little off, you’re going to mix everything up with the vegetables anyway and it’s going to taste just fine, which is what I did.

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Definitely a great summer dinner; no cooking required, lots of fresh & colorful veggies, and it’s cool & refreshing. And as an added bonus, this makes a great sandwich filling for hummus pita pockets. If you make this, let me know how your dressing experiments go!

Deliciousness score: 6/10
Easiness score: 8/10

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