Secret Santa’s Salad

 

The 2010 F&S tree with all Secret Santa packages vying for space

We have a tradition in our company: we celebrate Xmas with a Secret Santa and usually have a office lunch in his honor. This year we opted for a potluck, with every member either contributing a dish or contributing to the common staples (rice, rotis/breads, drinks) pool. I would have turned in the trifle pudding, but given that I was racing against time (year-end deliverable wrapping up) opted for a salad instead.

Ingredients:
Iceberg Lettuce: 350-400 gm
Cucumber: 4 medium sized ones
Tomatoes: 4 firm, medium sized
Onion: one light pink large
Capsicum: 2 medium sized
Carrots (pink): 4
Pickled Olives (16) and Jalapenos (6 whole small) (both drained out)
Paneer (cottage cheese): 300 gm
Black grapes: about 20
1 green chilli, finely sliced

For the dressing:
Extra Virgin Olive oil: 2 tsp
Tomato pulp
Garlic: 4-5 cloves
Rock salt, to taste
Olives (4) Jalapenos (2 whole small)
Orange: 1 medium sized for zest and juice

Method:
Wash all vegetables very well, leave to drain and dry.
Wash the lettuce very well, keep aside 4 whole leaves, shred the rest; peel, slice length-wise and cube cucumber; halve tomato, remove pulp, set aside for dressing, cube tomato (same size as cucumber); halve, de-seed capsicum, slice length-wise, very fine; peel carrots, slice into fine rings. Halve onion, slice very finely. Keep all vegetables separately
Cube paneer; halve and then quarter black grapes, set aside; Slice finely olives and jalapenos

Step 1: In a wide bottomed bowl, put in the sliced capsicum, cucumber, carrots, onion, finely sliced green chilli, drizzle abt 1tsp of olive oil, toss, so that oil coats all. Add about 8 olives and 3 Jalapenos sliced. Toss again. Do not ADD lettuce

Step 2: In another pan/bowl, add in cubed paneer, halved-quartered grapes, 8 olives  and 3 jalapenos finely sliced.

Dressing for the greens:
In a chutney jar or the smallest jar of your blender, place the finely diced garlic, tomato pulp, 4 olives, 2 jalapenos, rock salt to taste, 1/2tsp wine vinegar and 1tsp extra virgin olive oil. Blend into a fine paste. Retain about 1/2tsp for brushing over base lettuce leaves. Add the remainder into the greens of step 1,  and toss well.

Dressing for the paneer:
Take a medium sized orange, wash well, wipe dry, grate the zest lightly,  halve orange and squeeze juice onto paneer-grape-olive-jalapeno mix, sprinkle in the zest, toss well.

Cover both paneer and greens with cling film, cool in refrigerator for 30 mins.

Assembling:
Take another bowl (whichever you want to use to serve the salad); wash, dry. Lay on the bottom the whole lettuce leaves, either spray or brush olive oil onto the leaves, brush the 1/2tsp of dressing, set aside.
Remove greens and paneer-grape combo from refrigerator, toss the shredded lettuce in with the greens, now start layering your salad bowl alternately with greens and paneer. You should end with paneer-grapes on the top-most layer.

Cover, place into refrigerator for not more than 30 mins. Serve Cold. If you feel the top layer seems too dry, mix about 1/4tsp each olive oil, wine vinegar and honey and drizzle just before serving.

 

Red, white and green and healthy

Forgot to take a pic before everyone descended on it, so… 🙂

Can be had as is, or with toasted bread.

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2 thoughts on “Secret Santa’s Salad

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