Saturday, April 11, 2009

Feta salad with mint and dill

Mint and dill are omnipresent in Greek and Turkish cuisine, but in this salad they get to play a starring role instead of their usual supportive part!

As often happens, I went a bit crazy at the markets last weekend. I actually went to two farmer's markets on Sunday, because the stands at my normal market had run out of a couple things I wanted and I thought maybe the market in the next town over would have them. Well, the second market didn't have what I had originally wanted, but it did have all sorts of other epicurean delights, among them bunches and bunches of fresh dill!

I've seen fresh dill called for in lots of Greek and Turkish recipes, but I've never been able to find it at a farmer's market before, and so I got really excited and immediately bought a bunch. Then of course, I went through a week making all sorts of wonderful and tasty dishes, not one of which required any dill.

So here I was, left with a big bunch of dill and a fair amount of mint too, and so I thought "Why not just throw them into a salad with a few other things to really highlight their flavor, instead of parceling out a few leaves at a time to go with other dishes?"

The result, as it turns out, was delicious. For very little work, you get a very flavorful salad. Once the weather really turns warm and people start having potlucks and things, this will be a great dish to bring, especially since it only improves as it sits around!

100 g. pearl couscous (also called Israeli or Lebanese couscous)
75 g. feta
1-2 large ripe tomatoes
A large bunch of fresh dill
A large bunch of fresh mint
Several sprigs of parsley
Olive oil
Juice of half a lemon

Prepare the pearl couscous the same way you prepare regular couscous: in a small pot, heat some water (a few inches or so) to boiling, then turn off the heat, add in the couscous, cover and let sit about 10 minutes.

While the couscous are sitting, wash the dill, mint, and parsley, and chop them all very finely. Wash the tomato and chop it into medium-small chunks, and chop the feta into cubes (or crumble it if you prefer). Combine the tomato, feta, and herbs in a large bowl.

When the couscous have soaked up all the water, let them cool a bit, and then add them to the tomato, feta, and herb mixture. Pour a couple spoonfuls of olive oil over everything, and then add the lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

Stir well to combine, cover the bowl, and refrigerate for at least an hour. Serve cold or at room temperature. See, I told you was it easy!

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