All content copyright Katrina Hall 2008 through 2018

Monday, March 19, 2012

salade a la Grecque: composed Greek salad

It is 88 degrees here today. The 19th of March. I can hardly believe it, since we usually still have a three foot snowpack, but here are the daffodils budding. Last night I planted arugula and sugar snap peas: the back of the packet said to plant as early as ground can be worked, and so it is, and so I did. Skeptical neighbors are predicting an Easter blizzard with this odd weather, but today is sunny and beautiful , so I figure we should just enjoy the day.

Yesterday I was checking the vegetables I had on hand, laying them out on the kitchen counter. Looking at the colorful peppers and leeks, scallions, celery, and mushrooms, and two shallots, I was reminded suddenly of a French vegetable side dish "legumes a la Grecque" that I used to make . Prepared vegetables are simmered in a fennel-scented court bouillon, removed to a platter, then the broth is reduced and poured over the vegetables and served as a composed salad, or simply as a side. The vegetables are cooked just enough to be wilted and soft - a nice change from so many raw salads I have these days.

Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. 1

2 cups water
6 T. olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 t. kosher salt
2 T. minced shallots
about 2 T. parsley stems ( they have the most flavor)
1/2 t. fennel seeds
1 stalk celery, with leaves, chopped
1/2 t. thyme
12 peppercorns
a few coriander seeds, or a pinch of ground coriander
a few grindings of pepper

Simmer the herbs , shallots, and celery in the water and olive oil and simmer for 10 minutes. Take off the heat and let sit another 10 minutes, then strain the court bouillon into a bowl. Rinse out the saucepan, and return the strained broth to the pot and bring to a simmer again. Add:

8 mushrooms, quartered
2 cups sliced colorful peppers
3 scallions, cut into 3 inch lengths
3 leek whites, halved
1-2 sticks celery, cut in 3 inch lengths

(This was what I had available, but feel free to improvise with fennel bulbs, artichoke hearts, endive, onions, and cucumbers)

Simmer the vegetables for 10 minutes in the broth, then use a slotted spoon to carefully lift the vegetables out and place on a small platter.
Simmer the remaining broth until it is reduced to about 1/3 cup, then pour over the cooked vegetables.
Serve at room temperature.

Hope you're enjoying your day, wherever you are!


Marianne said...

A beautiful salad, Katrina! Your photos are wonderful! We are having 80 degree weather here, too. That's 40 degrees warmer than normal. Not sure what normal is anymore. But since I cannot control global warming, if that's what it is, I will try to enjoy today ... and hope it is just a fluke.

katrina said...

Thanks, Marianne - delighted you enjoyed! Our local weatherman said the Halloween blizzard and this beautiful weather are due to La Nina air currents from California, and not global warming as we all thought. Like you, I'm enjoying this quirk of nature - and my back is thrilled about the no shoveling endless amounts of snow:)