Thursday, May 31, 2012

Olive and Egg Salad

Don't let the picture fool you, this is an awesome salad!  It's a great way to use hard boiled eggs.  The recipe can be halved to use this salad as an appetizer or the full recipe makes an excellent entree.  The dressing is simple; it's just lemon, garlic, and olive oil.  It adds a nice tang to the salty olives, slightly sharp red onions, and toasty pine nuts.  Even though there is a good bit of chopping, this salad is relatively quick if you're using left over hard boiled eggs.

The recipe is from my new Lebanese and Syrian cookbooks, Saha, by Greg and Lucy Malouf. I've had another of their books, Turquoise, for many years and I learned that they published Saha first.  Of course the last thing I need is another Middle Eastern cookbook, but I couldn't help myself!  I'm very glad I bought it.  It has fewer recipes than Turquoise, but so far all of them that I've tried have been fabulous. 

Here are a few notes about how to make this salad.  Don't ignore the instruction to soak the red onion in water.  If you omit that step, the onion slices will be overwhelmingly sharp.  I soaked mine for longer than the recommended 10 minutes.  By all means add extra paprika if you want!  But know that your salad will be reddish like mine, as opposed to a mostly green and white salad.  Also, you can't go wrong with adding extra olives. Lastly, the original recipe instructs the cook on how to boil the eggs.  I'll include that instruction, but I think this is a great way to use previously hard boiled eggs.  I tend to hard boil eggs in batches for egg white salad sandwiches and always have a few left over that I don't want to waste.

Olive and Egg Salad
Serves 2 as a large-ish main dish or 4 as an appetizer.
Slightly adapted from Saha

1 small red onion, peeled and finely sliced (if you can't find a small red onion, use half of a medium sized one)
4 eggs (left over hard boiled eggs are ok)
2 1/2 ounces green pitted olives (I used about 10 extra olives)
3 1/2 ounces toasted pine nuts, roughly chopped
2 Tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
2 tsp sweet paprika
2 tsp ground sumac
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
3 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
Juice of 1 lemon
1 clove garlic crushed with 1/2 tsp salt
3 1/2 ounces olive oil
Additional paprika

1) Soak the red onion slices in cool water for at least 10 minutes.  15 to 20 minutes is better unless you like sharper flavored onion.
2) Peel the eggs and roughly chop three of them. The fourth egg is for garnish. Put the chopped eggs in a bowl with the olive, pine nuts, parsley, spices, sesame seeds, and about 3/4 of the onion. In a separate bowl, whisk together the olive oil, garlic paste, and lemon juice. Pour enough of the dressing to moisten it, and toss.  Taste to make sure you have enough dressing, I needed a little more than I first thought. Season with salt and pepper.
3) To serve, put the salad in bowls.  In each salad, make a little well in the middle and fill it with the remaining onion slices.  If they don't fit, chop them. Slice the remaining egg in half. Sit one half of the egg on top of each salad, yolk side up. Sprinkle the egg with a little paprika and serve.

*  If not using already hard boiled eggs, boil a pot of water. Put fresh eggs into a bowl of hot water for 5 minutes to bring them to room temperature. Lower the eggs into the boiling water and cook for 6 minutes. Remove from the pot and rinse with cold water.

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