Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas meal...part two

On to the second course, salad, precisely, CLASSY MARINATED FETA SALAD. Why classy? Well, it doesn't really look classy, but the ingredients are just really classic salad veggies, hence classy. Also, I don't really know what else to call it. Salads are a recently discovered delight for me, fun to make and eat. I especially like making the vinaigrette. Its pretty amazing to see the clear vinegar turn milky as you dribble the oil in. As for serving size, it is pretty huge. This will probably serve 10, so get a smallish sized veg if you are cooking for a small group.



*concerning the veggies, I'm guessing any will do, but for this I'm using this combination*

1 cucumber

1 head of lettuce

1 packet of cherry tomatos/a couple regular tomatos

1 packet marinated feta in oil/ just any feta/just any salted cheese you like


As much pine nuts as you like/any nuts you like



Splash of vinegar

Oil from feta/olive oil

Standard procedure for the veggies, just chop up in the shape you like, slices, strips, chunks or cubes. My feta came in cubes, so I thought I'll cut the veggies in some other shape to contrast.

Drain the feta, retaining the oil, and tumble into the veggies. Next, roast up the pine nuts either in a pan or in the oven. For a small amount like this, I prefer the pan, as its faster and easier to control. For people who have not tried pine nuts, I would really recommend it, its seriously good. Don't add the nuts until just before serving, together with the croutons, or they'll get soggy.

For the vinaigrette, there are a few ways of making it. According to Cooking for Engineers, the proportions should be 2 part oil to 1 part vinegar. I took that as a guideline and eyeballed the quantities, and am happy to report that all was fine. Michael listed 3 ways of making the vinaigrette: whisking by hand or machine, blender or processor and the jar method. I would probably have gone with the jar method on any other day, but today I had the blender handy as I blended the soup, and so decided to go with the blender. Splash in the vinegar and turn on the blender. Dribble in the oil in a tiny stream with the blender on, and watch the vinaigrette emulsify and turn milky. There's no need to season the dressing here because the feta is plenty salty, but for another salad, you might want to taste and season as desired.

All that's left now is the assembly, and don't do this until right before you serve. Its a nice show to do right at the dining table. Drizzle desired amount of vinaigrette into the veg-feta mixture and toss. Sprinkle nut and crouton generously over the salad and serve, and that's our second course done!

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