Wilted Greek Salad with Charred Lemons and Herbed Yogurt Dressing

August 21, 2011

I’m not normally a cucumber man, not because of taste or texture but because nutritionally speaking, I may as well drink a glass of water as eat a cucumber.  However, I do enjoy the crunch and freshness good cucumbers provide, and I was housesitting this past week and had access to a lovely and prolifically producing garden.  Cucumbers and several kinds of tomatoes were the bulk of the ripe produce, and naturally, I wanted to use as much of the garden-fresh goodness as I could.  With that in mind, I created this recipe to use up the cucumber crop.  It’s a nice, refreshing summer salad that works as a meal or an appetizer.

Unfortunately, this is another recipe that is not documented in pictures.  So often, I get cooking, and experimenting, and forget to do the pictures until after I’ve already finished, and then it’s too late.  I can be forgetful like that.  On the plus side, though, it’s really very easy to make, so pictures are less make-or-break than they might be.  Here we go:

Ingredients

1/2-3/4 cup full fat Greek yogurt

1 tsp each dill, mint

1 tsp oregano

3 cups fresh spinach

1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled

1/3 big cucumber, or 1/2 smaller cucumber, sliced and halved

1/2 lemon, sliced, rind removed

1/tsp oregano

1/3 cup red onion

2 cloves of garlic, pressed

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1/4 cup walnuts

12 or so grape tomatoes

1/3 lb chicken breast, cubed

olive oil

s&p

pinch of saffron strands (about 1/4 tsp)

Method:

Combine the yogurt, mint, and dill in a bowl and set aside.

Combine the spinach, feta, cucumbers in a serving bowl and set aside.

Heat a heavy cast iron skillet over medium-medium high heat, and once heated, add lemons until they start to char slightly, then remove them to the yogurt bowl.

Add olive oil to just cover the bottom of the pan with a thin layer.  Sautee the onions, garlic, oregano, and pepper flakes until the onion clarifies.  Add the walnuts, stirring to toast them on all sides, about 2 minutes.  Add chicken and tomatoes and continue to sautee until the chicken is cooked on the outside, about 2 minutes.

Add the yogurt mixture and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 7 minutes.  Add the pinch of saffron, s&p to taste, and simmer about 3 more minutes to let the flavors meld.

Pour everything in the skillet over the spinach/feta/cucumber mixture and stir to coat and wilt the spinach with the warm dressing.

Side note: If you can’t find full-fat Greek yogurt (many stores carry only the reduced or zero fat version), get a 1/2 cup of the reduced fat stuff and 1/4 cup of heavy cream.  That’s right.  Heavy whipping cream.  You heard me.

Part of Primal Toad’s Primal Cave

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