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Something about the spring and fall seasons seems to get me in the mood for cleaning. Nothing like a long, dark winter or busy summer to make junk accumulate, dust pile up on the blinds, or stale crumbs work their way into the pantry’s many crevices. In the spring, I focus more on bedrooms, baths, closets, etc. But in the fall, I turn my attention to the kitchen cupboards, refrigerator, and pantry. It’s sort of like I’m clearing out all the clutter before the holidays hit and things again turn into one giant mess.
“Purging the pantry” last weekend, I came across a jar of marinated artichoke hearts that I’d forgotten about. Artichoke hearts got me thinking about a Greek salad I made earlier this summer. And that recipe got me thinking about the photo I remember snapping of the salad because it was just so darn pretty. And the photo got me wondering if I still had it stored on the computer. So, quite determinedly, I sat down at my desk this week and started to sort through a whole kaboodle of pictures that have somehow worked their way onto my computer over the summer. Photos of pasta, lemons, herbs, olive oil, some fig thing, and a bunch of others needed to be organized and filed away into their proper place. It was cleaning of different sort, but much needed all the same.
Alas, I found the Greek salad tucked away in a folder I never use. Instantly, though, I recalled the way I’d made it. It was a super simple entree sized salad recipe that really was no recipe at all. Just a bunch of Mediterranean ingredients compiled together to make a tasty, hearty, healthy salad. I originally made the dish with the intention of posting it to this blog, but–as you can see–that never happened. Well, it’s happening now. This one’s just too good to file away into some far recess of my computer’s mind without at least mentioning to you.
Forgive the rather vague recipe. It’s not that I can’t remember how I made it. I can. Quite clearly, actually. But the whole point of the salad is to work with what you’ve got and put your own spin on it. No red onion? Use scallions. No marinated artichoke hearts? Try marinated sun-dried tomatoes. No chicken? Use white beans. It’s all up to you and what flavors come to mind when you think of Greece. I myself have never been there or known anyone who has been there (cry me a river), so this salad is just a conglommeration of my musings about Greek food and what I imagine it to be.
As much as I love fall cleaning, going through the cupboards and wiping out the fridge can wait. For now, let’s eat like Greeks.
Greek Salad with Chicken and Artichoke Hearts
6-8 cups mixed greens (I like romaine lettuce mixed with baby spinach)
Chopped tomatoes–about 1/2 cup
Thinly sliced red onion–about 1/2 cup
1 (6 oz.) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and roughly chopped
Pitted Kalamata olives, if desired
Thinly sliced cucumber–as much as you like
2-3 grilled chicken breasts, sliced into bite-sized pieces (or use shredded rotisserie chicken meat)
Handful (or two or three!) of grated parmesan cheese
Arrange greens on a platter. Then scatter atop the greens your tomatoes, onions, artichokes, olives, cucumbers, chicken, and parmesan. It’s THAT easy! For a dressing, I just pass olive oil and lemon wedges at the table. This way people can dress their own salad to their tastes.
(UPDATE 10/23: This post is part of Food Renegade’s Fight Back Fridays.)