Feb 25, 2008

Dress up your salad with olive oil and...

Big salads and desserts- that is what a perfect meal is to me ! If I eat out, most of the time I’ll have a big leafy dish followed by a rich big fat luscious dessert- and the latter is something I refuse to miss out on, there needs to be something sweet to end my meal. So being the big salad girl I am, variety and interesting ingredients becomes key whether it be through new vegetables, a topping of delicious cheeses or seafood, or…an experimentation with dressings which becomes the essential final touch for salads. Yes a simple mixture of olive oil and lemon juice is nice, balsamic even nicer, but sometimes you just want a change! So the other day as I was strolling through a home/kitchen deco shop (I can spend hours in these kind of places!) a set of decorative test tubes captured my attention. As they were located in the home section, I assumed one could use them instead of vases for flowers and what not…but for me, I knew that what was going in there was olive oil…and not plain olive oil! I made my purchase, rushed back home, and immediately started experimentation. Here are some suggestions:

Intense olive
This one is probably my favourite one as I’m very much of an olive-y person. It’s simple to make- pull out your mixer and blend some olive oil with green olives (remove the seeds before!). Blend away and then mix with freshly squeezed lemon juice. Tastes great with mesclun, parma ham, sundried tomatoes… something along the lines of Mediterranean flavours. It’s also delicious enjoyed simply with some bread or pasta and nothing else!

Ginger & Papaya
For something sweeter, dice up some candied ginger and papaya and add to the olive oil. Perfect for salads that contain shrimps or diced slices of cheeses- I’ve always loved fruity-cheesy combinations.

I’ve mentioned zaatar before in one of my previous posts. It’s a Middle Eastern mix of thyme, oregano and sesame. I placed a few pinches in a mixer with olive oil to obtain a flavourful dressing. This would probably go best with grilled haloumi or slices of smoked chicken on a salad.

Pistachio & Cranberry
Crush some pistachios, dice some dried cranberries and throw them in a mixer with some olive oil. Not only does it taste great, but also provides some beautiful colours to brighten up any dull salad! I recommend this with chicken but also with some tasty green asparagus .


Anonymous said...

I love the idea of bumping up the olive flavor of the oil by blending in olives and lemon...yum!

Kate / Kajal said...

...yesterday i had some friends over for late lunch ... a very fancy cheese & wine party with a 7- star cold starter menu and just desserts to follow ..., and guess what along with all the cheese and salads ... i also made some basil infused olive oil , and ...yes ...zaatar oil !!!
i have some lovely basil and wild zaatar( it doesn't look like yours though ... the leaves are smaller ) growing in my garden and i always use these lovely herbs.

Love the other versions of your oil though. Would love to give then a try.

Anonymous said...

Be aware that there's the potential for botulism poisoning when you make your own flavored oils.


Eomniscient said...

Thanks for an amazing recipe, love your blog
Low Fat Salad Recipes