I think I mentioned that I’m not always on top of the lunch game. But that tartine seems to have opened the door because I’ve been finding more and more treasures for lunchtime. If I’m being honest, I’d tell you that part of it is probably the recent taming of the fridge, also. Amazing what wonders having a system and actually seeing what you have in the fridge will do!
This salad started with leftover marinated feta cheese from the weekend’s lunches. The endless gray days of Parisian winter had us all craving sunlight and the bright flavor of lemon and citrusy zing of Sichuan peppercorns brought some to of that sun to our table. Marinating feta is really so easy and doesn’t take as much time as you would think to be effective. Even an hour or two will transform the cheese. Sometimes I forget to prepare it a day or two before, like last weekend when I remembered just after breakfast. It still had enough time to make a wonderfully flavored addition to our plates in the afternoon. Lucky me, we didn’t eat it all that Saturday.
The marinated feta and its infused olive oil was the first thing to be pulled out of the fridge for my weekday lunch, then Kalamata olives. Greek salad, I thought. But it’s January and tomatoes and cucumbers are just a dream. The just barely ripe, crisp winter pear on the counter seemed the perfect substitute and I quickly chopped some celery to pair with it. Peppery rocket, sliced red onions, deep purple olives, and roughly chopped pistachios – they all came together with a dressing of cider vinegar and the infused olive oil, lemon zest, and peppercorns. A Greek salad for winter. And you know what? I think it really did bring back the sun.
Lemon & Sichaun Peppercorn Marinated Feta
This recipe is easily adapted to any amount of feta and the amounts given here aren’t
written in stone. Feel free to just toss in small handfuls of seasoning to your own taste.
– 150 g feta cheese
– 1 lemon, organic if possible
– 1 teaspoon Sichaun peppercorns
– 1/2 c. olive oil or more
1. Peel half the lemon into wide strips with a vegetable peeler. Slice each strip length-wise into very thin strips.
2. Crumble the feta into large chunks.
3. Using a high sided bowl, arrange the feta in the bowl with the peppercorns and lemon zest distributed throughout the layers. Pour olive oil into to cover the feta. You may need more or less oil to just cover the cheese. Marinate for at least 1 hour if possible.
Winter Greek Salad
– 75 g marinated feta
– 1/2 c. Kalamata olives
– 2 tender celery heart stalks, sliced including leaves
– 1/2 crisp pear, sliced into matchsticks
– 1 shallot or 1 small red onion sliced thinly
– 1/4 c. unsalted pistachios, roughly chopped
– 2 handfuls rocket / arugula
– 2 tbsp. infused olive oil from the marinated feta
– 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1. Divide the rocket between two plates and then arrange the feta, olives, celery, pear, and onions on top. Sprinkle with the chopped pistachios.
2. In a separate bowl, combine the vinegar and olive oil and drizzle over the two salads. Be sure to include the lemon zest and peppercorns from the oil too!