Middle Eastern salad of cucumber, lettuce and herbs

Middle Eastern salad of cucumber, lettuce and herbs

By
From
My Favourite Ingredients
Serves
4
Photographer
Jason Lowe

I love the idea of this salad. When I was a child, my father, who rarely ever cooked, would sometimes prepare a chopped salad that he had eaten in America. It comprised several ingredients – often crunchy lettuce, sweet tomatoes and cheese or some form of meat – chopped into small pieces and tossed with a good dressing. This is more a Middle East version, without meat or cheese. It is almost the consistency of gazpacho, but laced with plenty of cool, crunchy Cos lettuce.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
2 very ripe tomatoes
1 small cucumber
1 red onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 red pepper, cored, deseeded and chopped
6 radishes, chopped
1 red chilli, deseeded and very finely chopped
bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped, leaves only
bunch mint, chopped, leaves only
small bunch dill, finely chopped, leaves only
1/2 teaspoon dried mint
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 teaspoon pomegranate molasses
sea salt
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 pomegranate
1 small, tender cos lettuce

Method

  1. Chop the tomatoes into small dice and place in a large bowl. Halve the cucumber lengthways and scoop out the seeds, then cut into pieces the same size as the tomatoes and add to the bowl. Add the red onion, red pepper, radishes, chilli, chopped fresh herbs and dried mint. Stir well to combine.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the red wine vinegar, lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, a good pinch of salt and the extra virgin olive oil. Stir well and pour over the chopped vegetables. Toss gently and leave to macerate for 10 minutes.
  3. Hold the pomegranate in one hand and gently tap it all over with a rolling pin to loosen the seeds. Now cut the fruit in half and extract the seeds with your fingers – do this over a bowl to catch them and any juice. Pick out any strands of bitter pith that have dropped into the bowl.
  4. Just before serving, shred the lettuce and toss through the salad. Taste and season with a little more salt if necessary. Pile onto a serving plate and sprinkle with the pomegranate seeds. Serve with warm flat bread, or as an accompaniment to simply grilled fish.
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