In search of a ‘new’ summer salad to update my 2019 hot-weather suppers, I have come to notice something that’s been right under my nose (and therefore invisible) for some time. It’s a great Salad idea using my Recycled Pickle Juice Sweet Peppers. It’s really easy, and bursting with goodness!
You know, like in Field of Dreams, when Ray Kinsella tries to explain his revelation about the baseball diamond to Terry Mann: “There comes a time when all the cosmic tumblers have clicked into place — and the universe opens itself up for a few seconds to show you what’s possible.”
This versatile Salad can be served as a main or a side, with or without a Protein addition, as your audience dictates. It’s a special blend of sweet and tart, and the Dressing can be flavoured to complement any mainstream main dish. It calls for no exotic or ‘special’ ingredients – sub in or out various ‘supporting actor’ Veggies out as you wish, or to suit what’s on hand – so you can make it anytime with what you have in the fridge, and it takes only a few minutes to whip up…
What you need
1 1/2 cups / 375 ml Pickled Sweet Peppers, cut in roughly 1 in. x 1/2 in. / 2.5 cm x 1.5 cm pieces
1/3 cup / 85 ml sliced Green Olives
2/3 cup / 170 ml Cherry or Grape Tomatoes, halved
2/3 cup / 170 ml Red Onions, slivered
2/3 cup / 170 ml Seedless English Cucumber, sliced in 1/8 in. / 3 mm rounds
1 cup / 250 ml freshly toasted Croutons, 1/2 in. to 3/4 in. / 1.5 cm to 2 cm cubes
1/3 cup / 85 ml Pecan Halves
For the Dressing:
1/3 cup / 85 ml Pickle Juice
1/4 Cup / 65 ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 clove Garlic, minced
Your choice of Herbs and Spices (to bend he flavour whatever way you want it to go)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Serves 4-6 as a Veggie Entrée Salad, 6-8 as a side.
What you do
Wash the Tomatoes and Cucumber well.
Slice or cube all ingredients as described.
Toast your Croutons for a few minutes in a 375 F oven – just until they’re dry, crispy and not too brown. I like to lightly drizzle or toss them with Olive Oil to help them crisp up and enhance their flavour. I prefer some sort of special Bread for these; a Light Rye is my favourite, and Sourdough comes in a close second. Using everyday White Bread for these is like ordering plain Vanilla at the Ice Cream parlour – a great opportunity wasted!
Place all ingredients except the Croutons in a large mixing bowl. Toss gently to thoroughly distribute all ingredients evenly. Allow to stand covered in the fridge for at least 10-15 minutes for the flavours to meld. If excess water sinks to the bottom of the bowl, pour off. It will dilute the Dressing.
While the Salads is resting, add all the Dressing ingredients to a small bowl and whisk briskly until the Pickle Juice has emulsified with the Olive Oil to a light, creamy Golden-Green consistency.
Drizzle Dressing over the Veggies just before serving, or present it at the table, so your guests can dress their own plates.
Serve Croutons on the side, fresh from the oven.
Serve Salad on plates or in bowls, as desired, or as appropriate to the rest of the meal, if presenting as a side.
And that’s all there is to it!
You can, of course, add cubed pre-cooked Chicken or Ham to your Pickled Sweet Pepper Salad to make it a mainstream main. With Ham it’s a natch’ to bend the flavour in the Italian, Greek or Spanish direction. Enjoy!
~ Maggie J.