SHOPPING LIST: 2 bunches parsley, 1 bunch dill, pine nuts, dried cranberries, feta cheese, stone ground mustard, apple cider vinegar, olive oil
Have you ever tasted something and became instantly addicted? This is the story of me and this salad. And hopefully this will be your story too. The brightness of the herbs, the acidity of the dressing, the sweetness of the berries and the crunch of the nuts — this simple herb salad has IT ALL. I know the concept of THIS MANY herbs can sound overwhelming — but I also went out to lunch with a man in Baku, Azerbaijan who picked up an entire bunch of dill, folded it in half, and ate it like a cucumber — so relatively speaking, these herbs have a tangy dressing and plenty of accoutrements to make this a composed, well-rounded dish.
The most annoying part of this dish is pulling all of the parsley leaves off the stalks. If you have children, this is the perfect way to get them involved in the cooking process! The parsley and dill leaves get a quick chop and go into your serving bowl. The rest of the ingredients are equal in their amounts 1/3 cup of each. For the pine nuts, I prefer to give them a quick toast in a pan over medium heat, making sure they are only golden brown and not burnt (they will cook quickly). Let the pine nuts cool before adding them to the salad so they do not wilt your greens. Then 1/3 cup of your feta crumbles and 1/3 cup of your dried cranberries. Everything goes on top of the greens and then it’s dressing time.
MUSTARD VINAIGRETTE: 2 tB. stone ground mustard, 1 tB. apple cider vinegar, 1 tB. + 1 tsp. olive oil, pinch of salt + pepper. Quick mix with a fork and then thoroughly mix with your herbs and toppings.
While this dish has Mediterranean inspiration, almost like a tabouleh without the grains, it really pairs beautifully with so many different cuisines. Fish, chicken, meat — it’s really more of a side dish than a salad for me, something I enjoy eating WITH the main dish of the night. I also have to note that aside from the herb base, the rest of the ingredients are completely interchangeable. Last night I made this salad again using dried cherries, pistachios and goat cheese. Use what is in your pantry, or most importantly, WHAT YOU LIKE!!!
Lastly, this recipe feeds about 4 people. You will be surprised HOW QUICKLY this goes. If you are cooking for more people, I would highly recommend doubling it. This has quickly become a staple at all our table, and I hope you will enjoy it as much as we do.