Spinach and Feta Salad

To make a good salad is to be a brilliant diplomatist - the  problemis entirely the same in both cases. To know exactly how much oil one must put with one's vinegar.
Oscar Wilde.

Ingredients for Tomato and Pesto Salad

A salad - sounds like the easiest thing to prepare, even for an inexperienced cook. However, it is a common misconception that any vegetables can be mixed in any proportion and soaked in vinaigrette to produce it. Actually, a good salad is not easy to make, because not only the proportions must be right, but the vegetables must be of good quality, since they are eaten raw. 
Another common mistake is chopping the ingredients any old how, on the basis that it's taste we're after, not looks. However, the portion size can influence the taste heavily, so all these things have to be observed if You want to make a really good salad.
My favourite mix of tomatoes and feta cheese is a good example here : if the tomato is diced too small, it will secret an excess of juice that risks to drown the cheese. If the cheese is diced too small, the heavy bits will fall to the bottom and You will be eating the salad in layers. If all ingredients are chopped too big, you will end up eating every ingredient separately and the tastes won't connect.
Taste harmony is what a good salad is all about ; I have seen people mix green peas with smoked salmon because they've had pineapple and chicken salad before. Too much thinking on the lines of "something from a can + bits of animal + sauce" is the reason for my somewhat strict attitude towards salads. But so would be Yours, had You been unlucky enough to be around and forced to eat those monstrosities.
This particular salad is as simple as can be, but it is quite nutritious. If You are on a diet, or just don't feel like having a whole, two-course dinner, You might want to try this recipe as Your main meal.

Ingredients:

  • Fresh spinach leaves - as many as you like
  • Tomatoes - two per person, unless they're very big
  • Feta cheese - 50 g. per person will be enough
  • Pesto - a teaspoon (alternatively a spoon of olive oil and some basil leaves)

Preparation:

Wash the spinach leaves and remove the stems if you want to. (It's not necessary) Dice both tomatoes and the cheese into bits about 1 cm across. This will allow them to mix nicely while still keeping them firm and giving You something to bite into. Put them in a bowl and add the seasoning. If You are using pesto, don't add anything else. The tomatoes will have leaked some juice by now which will allow the pesto to spread nicely. If You are seasoning with olive and spices, a drop of vinegar will make it more pronounced.
A salad with fresh spinach, tomatoes, feta cheese and pesto

This particular salad is best served as a meal of its own, accompanied by a piece of bread to soak up the sauce. If You are intent on matching it with a 'real' meal, the best bet would be something equally Mediterranean. White wine is recommended, as red would overwhelm the taste.

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