When I was making my moussaka I needed an accompanying salad that was light, fresh, and served as a foil to the richness of the main dish. I thought about making a green salad with a basil dressing but, frankly, I’m a little tired of basil. I know, I know – it’s delicious, aromatic, and easy to obtain, but I had not seen a lot of basil in any of the Turkish, Greek, or Persian cookbooks I’ve been perusing. It made occasional appearances but was rarely a main player – at least in my reading. Upon looking into it further I discovered that basil is actually native to Iran! The word basil comes from the Greek term for “king” – making it the king of herbs in many people’s minds. But I feel a little weary of it right now – so I went in a slightly different direction.
Fresh Chopped Salad
- 1 large or 2 medium sized English cucumbers
- 1 package grape or cherry tomatoes
- 1 small red onion
- 1 bunch fresh parsley
- 1 handful fresh mint leaves
- juice of 1 lemon
- olive oil
To prepare the salad finely chop the cucumbers, tomatoes, and red onion. Very finely. For my salad I chopped each grape tomato into eighths! Cherry tomatoes were cut into tenths. You want everything very small. Leave the skin on the cucumber and there is no need to remove the seeds. It is especially important the the red onion is chopped minced finely so that its flavor does not overwhelm the other more delicate flavors. If you get it fine enough, it just adds to the flavor’s fullness without it being distinctly “oniony”.
Finely chop the parsley and mint:
Mix together the cukes, tomatoes, onion, parsley and mint. Add a glug of olive oil and the lemon juice. Salt to taste. This salad is so fresh and light tasting – it basically goes with anything!
© 2009 Rebecca Manor