Friday, June 24, 2011

constructive deconstruction

i've been loving the idea of deconstructed salads recently. that's my word (and my mom's word) for salads that aren't all chopped and tossed together, but rather just the components you want, in larger chunks that you can mix and match, bite by bite.

both of my current favorites are decidedly greek - chunks or strips of grilled chicken and cucumbers, halved grape tomatoes, feta, tzatziki or spicy hummus and some kalamata olives. it's good just on a fork, but even better nestled in small romaine hearts. the salmon cucumber salad above looks amazing too, doesn't it?

another salad creation i've been enjoying lately is what i call an olive salad. i get pitted kalamata olives in a large container and i add a few spoons of the salty, briny liquid the olives sit in at the olive bar. then, i add thin ribbons of green peppers, halved grape tomatoes and diced cucumber pieces, shake it all up so the brine coats everything, and it's olive salad, no dressing required! you could easily add feta, chicken or shrimp to make it more meal-like but i also love the idea of the olive salad as a light, easy summer side at a barbecue or on a picnic day. packs so easily into a container and is full of perfect sweet, salty and bright flavors. some fresh basil or dill would elevate it to gourmet status. maybe even mint...and the best part of salads like this is that the longer the components all sit together, the better the flavors meld and marry.

summer is just made for salads, isn't it? what's your favorite?

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