Happy Monday, friends! Hope everyone enjoyed the weekend. The weather continues to be unbearably hot in LA, so I continue to be unbearably lethargic and uninterested in most aspects of life. I mean, come on, who really has energy for anything in this kind of weather?
As such, my weekend was pretty low key, but I was visited on Saturday night by my friend Katie, who I’ve known since college. I decided I was in no mood to have yet another meal out, nor was I in any mood to really cook anything and heat up my apartment even more than it already is. Assemble, yes. Cook? No. One good thing about this weather is that it continues to inspire me to create things that can be served cool and/or room temperature and don’t require a look of cooking… or effort… Also, with Katie comes an even more interesting challenge: she is allergic to wheat. I know, right? What a mind bender. Anyway, for some reason I found myself in the mood for something involving dill, so I decided I would go with a nice summer salad. Now normally I stay away from meats because they’re expensive and full of unnecessary calories. However, since I couldn’t give Katie any grains, I felt we needed some sort of protein to make this meal substantial. So, I wandered into the cold cuts section of my grocery store and discovered some peppered salami on sale. Perfect.
So here’s what I did. I cut the salami into strips and threw them into a screaming hot, dry cast iron skillet. I stirred them around and let them cook for about 7 minutes until they got some deep crisp and color. I then removed the crispy strips out of the pan onto a paper towel to cool while I prepared the salad.
The salad goes like this:
- 1 cucumber diced into small cubes
- About 3/4 lb of mini heirloom tomatoes, cut in quarters
- 4-5 very thin slices of red onion
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
- 1/2 cup of crumbled feta cheese (maybe more)
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and let it sit at room temperature to allow the flavors to meld. Once you’re ready to serve you can either stir in the crisped salami or get yourself a bowl of the salad and just sprinkle as much of the crispy meat as you want over the top. Of course if you’re a vegetarian, you can leave the salami out and still be left with an outstanding summer salad. I would also venture to say that if you’re not allergic to wheat, then you could do very well to add couscous to this recipe. It would stretch it out and make it that much more substantial.
For our dinner I assembled this salad (without couscous) and then we went out to the grill. I grilled us some zucchini spears and corn on the cob and that was all we needed. Delicious.
I gotta say, I’m liking this salad idea, so don’t be surprised if you find a few more variations on this in the days to come.