Salad - Feta, Grilled Grapes
New salad, delicious salad
For lunch or dinner.
This is not a salad we are likely ever to have seen on our table before, whether it be lunch or dinner. Nor are we ever likely to see it on a restaurant menu. That alone makes it interesting.
But really it is the interesting combination of ingredients here that recommends it to our taste buds. Dive into this pool and you will see.
Of course, feta is no surprise in any salad. It is the featured player, the star of the show, in a Greek salad, and it performs its role with distinction. But grapes, grilled grapes in particular, are the novel and distinctive element here. And it is the way they work with the other ingredients (see below) which makes for a very tasty adventure in salad eating.
By the way,don't forget to make the lettuce interesting as well. Wild argula would make a good choice, perhaps combined with some radicchio as well. Here we chose a blend of fresh baby greens, including my favorite, frise'e (sometimes called curly endive). Green or red leaf lettuce, or Romaine, would be good choices also, if more conventional. Romaine has the advantage of providing a bit of crunch when you bite into it.
Salad - feta, grilled grapes
Mixed greens. Tomato.
Arugula would be a good alternative.
Feta, of course. That's a slice of feta there in the picture, though if you are a fan of pre-crumbled feta, that would be delicious also.
Note the pieces of lime, the wedges. We are going to squeeze these all over the salad.
We have a separate hub on grilling grapes for you to consult. As we say there, one of the many great things this grilling is that it doesn't take long -- another great thing is that the short grilling we recommend concentrates and enhances the taste of the grapes to a significant degree.
We want them grilled, but of course we don't want our grapes to be mushy. We want to preserve a good deal of that solid feel when biting into a grape, one of the things that distinguishes them from citrus fruits or even strawberries, to some extent.
The grilling does make the grapes shed a bit of their juices -- but never fear: we will capture these juices and put them to very good use right here in this salad
Dressed and presentable
See the picture below for what accounts for the terrific taste of this salad.
Here it is, EVOO -- and lime juice over the top. Not forgetting the coarse ground salt and pepper on top of that, conventional but very important.
For EVOO see here www.hubpages.com/food/evoo2.
The juices from the grilled grapes are dripping out after being added to this bowl, and they are mixing with the other ingredients, adding a terrific flavor to this terrific salad.
Did we mention terrific?
The combination of lime juice and extra virgin olive oil is a culinary high, in and of itself.
But the juices from the grilled grapes color that combination and add so much to it. This is the thing that really makes this salad distinctive.
Here it is up close, this combination of oil, lime juice and EVOO, after the salad has been eaten. We are going to fetch a nice piece of a sourdough baguette and sop this up! We are not going to let any of it go to waste.
Feta cheese is a bright white "brined cheese" made, usually in Greece, and aged, from sheep's milk (sometimes a little goat's milk is also used)., Cow's milk, unfortunately, is sometimes added in cheeses produced outside the European Union. Pay attention to the list of ingredients in any "feta" you buy. Although feta is commonly produced in blocks, it has by nature a crumbly texture and is often sold in containers filled with crumbles. Many people like this for sprinkling over their salads.
Saltiness is the thing that people find most characteristic of feta. The saltiness, though notable, is subtle as well as notable.
Feta dates back, way, way back. It is generally thought that when Odysseus landed on the island of Cyclops, found the cave of Polyphemos, and noted the provisions stored within, one of these provisions was feta cheese. “We soon reached his cave, but [Polyphemos] was out shepherding, so we went inside and took stock of all that we could see. His cheese-racks were loaded with cheeses, and he had more lambs and kids than his pens could hold. They were kept in separate flocks; first there were the hoggets, then the oldest of the younger lambs and lastly the very young ones all kept apart from one another; as for his dairy, all the vessels, bowls, and milk pails into which he milked, were swimming with whey.” Odysseus is lucky to escape the one-eyed giant (whom he manages to get drunk and then blind), and a number of his men have been eaten by this monster, but one has the feeling that on his way out, Odysseus grabbed a bunch of the feta.
This is all way, way back. Scholars think that the Odyssey was composed around 800 BC, and feta might be even older than that.
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