Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A la naturale

I’ve been gone. That’s what happens when you decide to take up a masters course and continue with your day job. But I’m back. It’s late spring, and there are lots of delicious things to eat.

As a quick catch up, so you can have some idea of all the exciting things you missed out on when I wasn’t posting, over the past couple of months I’ve been eating a lot of:
- sautéed broccoli, kale or other green with lots of garlic, a bit of chilli, and poached egg and lots of parmesan cheese plopped on top.
- Miso soup with soba noodles, steamed vegies and a poached egg on top
- Boiled artichokes/baby leeks/asparagus with vinagrette and a hard boiled egg on top

And that’s pretty much about it. So don’t worry, you haven’t missed anything, except perhaps an inordinate number of eggs.

This recipe comes from Luisa at The Wednesday Chef – she wrote about it whilst lamenting the last days of summer over in Berlin. Back on this side of the world, this dish is a perfect celebration of what can be called, “pants off weather”. It’s not as outrageous as it sounds, it’s just that we’re finally starting to get those evenings that are warm and slightly sticky. Those evenings when catching the train is like a Dali painting, everything slowly melting. Those evenings when you drag yourself up the three flights of stairs to your apartment and the first thing you do is pull off your jeans to cool down, and they stay off.

Even when you know full well your neighbours can see into your apartment, there’s nothing quite like sitting down to dinner in your undies.

This recipe is quick and simple, light and summery and works perfectly whether you are dining solo a la undie or have some company and more clothes on. I ate it sitting on the couch, in my undies, with the end of a fresh sourdough rye loaf, frantically reading my bookclub book (got to be finished by tomorrow night!!)

I could see it going just as well as a side dish for a more substantial meal or served as part of a mezze/range of salads type dinner.

Whatever you do, try it once just in your undies, for me.

Zucchini salad with harissa
I’ve tweaked the salad a bit to make it for one person and also to match what I had in the fridge. Feel free to play around with it – the amount of harissa will make it quite spicey which is great in the warm weather, but not everyone’s cup of tea.

3 small zucchini cut into 1cm thick rounds
Juice of ½ a large lemon
1-2Tbs harissa (taste and see how you go)
3Tbs good olive oil
1 small garlic clove minced
Handful of olives, pitted and roughly chopped (Luisa used Kalamata but I only had Spanish green in my fridge, they worked well)
¼ cup roughly chopped feta cheese
Small handful of flat-leaf parsley roughly chopped

Steam the zucchini over simmering water until tender but not falling apart (about 7-10minutes)

In a small bowl whisk together lemon juice, harissa, oil and garlic.

Once zucchini is done, transfer into serving bowl, pour over half the dressing and slowly toss through.

Sprinkle olives, feta and parsley on top, add a little more of the dressing (to taste) and toss gently.

You can serve it immediately as a hot side dish or at room temperature.

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