Spring In A Second: Parsley-Artichoke Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
Friday, March 18, 2011
Often when we hear the word "salad" we think of romaine, butter, and other traditional leaf lettuces. Occasionally we'll venture into the bitter leafs like frisee or radicchio, but rarely do we look to herbs like cilantro or parsley!
Yes, even parsley could make the most delicious salad. Too often we ignore it and push it to the side of our minds and literally on our plate as a simple, lonely garnish. But in fact, parsley not only gives wonderful green color to a dish but also can be the start of the show with its intense bright lemony flavor that pairs beautifully with other foods like artichokes, citrus, tomatoes, and obviously any meat or fish. Middle Eastern cuisine figured out the deliciousness of parsley and made it the star in its famous salad, tabbouleh. I took a cue from that salad and composed this simple but extremely flavorful salad using parsley as my main green, diced red onion, chopped artichoke hearts, and finished it off with toasted slivered almonds and a little feta cheese. A simple lemon vinaigrette brought it all together to a wonderfully refreshing salad that's wonderful on its own or with a dish. All the ingredients just scream spring, and will brighten up any colder rainy day until summer comes.
And if you're fasting for Lent this is perfect for a Wednesday or Friday lunch!
Parsley-Artichoke Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
2 bunches parsley, washed and stems removed
1/2 red onion, diced very small
1 can artichoke hearts in water, drained and chopped
3 Tbsp good quality extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon - juice
freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbsp toasted slivered almonds*
goat cheese (optional)
Place the parsley, onion, and artichoke hearts in a mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the olive oil and lemon juice and lightly toss using a spoon. Add the almonds and goat cheese if using and toss lightly to combine. Serve.
*To toast the almonds: place raw almonds in a shallow pan (with no oil!) and heat under medium heat. You'll smell the nuts before they start to cook, so pay attention and once you smell it, start stirring. Cook until almonds are toasted, golden brown, stirring often to prevent burning. Transfer to a bowl or dish immediately to prevent burning (if you leave them in the pan, they will continue to cook and burn). Set aside or use immediately. Can be toasted in advance and kept in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to a week.