It's strange that a favorite salad of mine comes from a barbecue expert, Steven Raichlen, but indeed, that is where this recipe originated from. My adaptation is a bit different from the original but still maintains the bold flavors the fairly large amounts of lemon juice and fresh dill impart. The amount of dill is indeed alarming, and if it were cilantro, I would be coma-bound. But for some reason, the salty character of the cheese, the brightness of the lemon juice and the meatiness of the olives and pine nuts combine to make something quite special, delicious and excellent year round. It's particularly nice to eat it in the Winter to remind oneself of sunnier days to come.
In the summer months, I add even more fresh herbs, such as chives and tarragon and vary the lettuce according to what is ready in the garden. I prefer a red oak leaf lettuce for this salad, but really, any nice green would work, except maybe Iceberg which is only to be used if one wants to upset me.
- 1/2 a large head of red leaf lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
- 8 sprigs fresh dill, de-stemmed and coarsely chopped
- Half a smallish bulb of fresh fennel shaved on a mandoline
- 1 garlic clove, halved lengthwise
- A few splashes of good olive oil (such as Sciabica's)
- 1/2 a lemon
- A couple tablespoons of pine nuts, toasted
- Stickney Hills Crumbled Chevre (or any crumbled goat or feta, or grated parmesan or pecorino)
- Kalamata olives
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Rub the inside of a wooden salad bowl with both cut sides of the garlic thoroughly. Add the lettuce, dill and fennel, tossing well. Squeeze the lemon over the salad, minding the seeds and splash in the olive oil. Toss again. Sprinkle with the cheese, olives, pine nuts, and pepper and serve.
Serves 2, generously
Adapted from The Barbecue Bible by Steven Raichlen