Friday, July 9, 2010

Second Helping: Inspired Aroma Salad

One of the best salads I had while on vacation was made with three of the main Israeli ingredients: Fresh chopped cucumbers, tomatoes and lots, lots of good extra virgin olive oil. The specific one that I keep dreaming about over and over again was surrounded by quinoa and was topped with grilled eggplant, haricots vert (one of my favorite ingredients in life), mint and a bit of green onions.

I tasted it between one laugh and another with my friend Tamara, who lived here in the Bay Area and now is living in Tel Aviv. We met to catch up in a chain cafe called Aroma, where generous bowls of salad share the stage with coffee. I would dare saying that's exactly what makes the place so specially Israeli: They could not live without salad. Nor good and strong coffee. Any time of the day.

So, after tasting it I could not forget it. I tried one interpretation of it for my husband's birthday and the second time I prepared it was for our last playdate. We were lucky to have Darienne's grilled eggplant and fresh mint form her garden to help achieve the maximum perfection. My boys obviously decided not to eat it. But they tried before and liked it. So, peer pressure was there and no person under the age of 6 touched the micro portion on their plate.

In the meantime I was pleased to watch Darienne and Doug trying it - and enjoying it! So I hope to share the same pleasure with you here in this very simple recipe .

Israeli Inspired Salad

I used a very nice crunchy cucumber, called here Persian, and seasonal sweet tomatoes. But I am sure that most of the success of this salad lies on the quality of the olive oil. 

4 cups cooked quinoa, prepared as instructed by package plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
3 ripe sweet tomatoes, chopped in 1/2-inch cubes with peel and seeds
4 small cucumbers (Persian) or 2 big sized cucumbers (English), chopped in 1/2-inch cubes, peel on
Enough olive oil to involve all ingredients
Juice from one lime
Kosher salt, to taste
1/4 medium purple onion, chopped in tiny cubes (optional)
4 slices grilled eggplant (see Darienne's recipe here)
Haricot verts, to garnish
Mint leaves, chopped to salad and whole leaves to garnish
Chives or spring onions, to garnish

Mix all ingredients but don't overdo it: you want to see all chunks there and quinoa grains involving them. Top bowl with French green beans, eggplant, mint leaves, chives or spring onions.


Myrna said...

Thank you for expliciting in such a wonderful way the composition of the delicious quinoa salad of Aroma.

Anna said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anna said...

I am so happy Myrna, that you saw that recipe. And, by the way, it is a interpretation of what I ate there, I am not really sure if it's so close to the original. Enjoy it and thanks for reading us!


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