March 29, 2004
Serendipitous Sunday Dinner

Doesn't this look healthy?
Main Entry: ser·en·dip·i·ty
Pronunciation: -'di-p&-tE
Function: noun
Etymology: from its possession by the heroes of the Persian fairy tale The Three Princes of Serendip: the faculty or phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary)

Don't you love it when you get a taste for a particular dish and - against all odds - discover you actually have all the ingredients you need in your kitchen? I am the sort of person who usually buys feta cheese because my husband likes it and then promptly forgets about it until it has long passed its shelf life. So it was quite a happy surprise to me when I discovered that I had all the ingredients (or at least all the ingredients we like best) for a Greek Salad in our fridge on Sunday evening. As you can see in the image here, we like the following elements in our salad: lettuce, tomatoes, slices of red pepper, spring onions, feta cheese and a drizzle of our best olive oil. ("You spent HOW much on that oil?" "Umm...about thirty euros..." "Thirty euros???" Long silence. "It's really good...")

One departure this time: I also had a fresh fennel bulb in the bottom of the vegetable drawer, so I sliced some v-shaped chunks of fennel and added them to the mix. This elicited a yelp from the Critic: what is THIS? Followed by a grudging: well, actually, it's not too bad, kind of grows on you...

So there you have it: a perfect Sunday dinner for a couple who brunched with friends to excess on Sunday afternoon.

A final note: there is just enough Feta left for me to make another helping of the Egg, Feta and Sage sandwich that Barrett wrote about. I tried it for the first time this weekend and it's absolutely delicious!

Posted by Meg in Sussex at March 29, 2004 4:02 AM | TrackBack Print-friendly version

Fennel and feta. Two of my favorites. One thing I love in my Greek salads is a sprinkling of pepperoncini, those pale green salty peppers that complement the feta. Can you get those in France or is that an American distortion of a Greek dish?

Posted by Barrett on March 29, 2004 at 7:45 AM

Drat - wish I had thought of them! We can get jalepeno-like peppers in brine and my Critic LOVES them. I also would have liked some nice olives, but I don't tend to keep them in the fridge since I am in a minority in this regard.

Posted by Meg in Paris on March 29, 2004 at 9:10 AM

Oh, and I think I know the peppers you mean and yes, you can get them in the markets at the same stands that sell olives (and those weird beans you made me buy the last time you visited, remember?).

Posted by Meg in Paris on March 29, 2004 at 9:11 AM

I don't remember the beans. Were they lupini? Maybe I need to go back to Paris and you can show me.

Posted by Barrett on March 29, 2004 at 9:34 AM

That sounds right. They were the kind you had to pop out of their skins to eat. But yes, you definitely need to come over for a visit so that we can settle the pepper question too!

Posted by Meg in Paris on March 29, 2004 at 9:51 AM

I leave out the lettuce.

But you must have segments of white onion ... and olives - the big, fat, juicy black ones. 'Mahmut' they call them in my local Turkish supermarket. I think it means mammoth. But I can't be sure.

Fennel's great. Braise it in white wine and olive oil with some onion and garlic, shake some paprika over.

Posted by lazykitchenhand on March 29, 2004 at 10:44 PM

I used the baby onions because I'm not overly fond of raw onions. (It's one of the reasons I don't usually order Greek salads in restaurants - I'm a wimp!) However, I saw a middle-eastern chicken recipe on Epicurious that called for soaking the onion rings in water for a bit before serving and that sounded like a good idea for me!

I love fennel too, though I have to say I like it best just raw!

Posted by Meg in Paris on March 30, 2004 at 2:11 AM
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