Tuesday, December 4, 2012

0 Recipe #329: Shirazi Salad

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This Persian salad -- from where else, but the region of Shiraz  -- is a delicious and healthy dish that's quite simple and easy to make. It's sort of like a Persian pico de gallo. :-D This no-cook dish consists of only three vegetables -- tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions. They're all chopped to a uniform size and marinated for a short period of time. Typically served in the summer, this salad goes particularly well with other dishes like pita spread with hummus or babaganoush, falafel, or grilled shish kebabs like jujeh (chicken) kebabs.

A Paleo version of this recipe will be appearing in the fitness and nutritional lifestyle book, Paleo Fitness, by Brett Stewart, Darryl Edwards, and Jason Warner. Although this version is non-Paleo, it can easily be made Paleo with a few simple modifications, which have been detailed below:

Shirazi Salad

1/2 c. red onion, peeled and diced (about 1/2 small red onion)
1 1/2 c. Persian or English (seedless) cucumbers, unpeeled, scored lengthwise with a fork, and diced (about 1 1/2 Persian cucumbers or 1 medium-sized English cucumber)
1 1/2 c. vine-ripened tomatoes, diced and drained (about 2 medium-sized tomatoes)
2 Tbsp. fresh mint, finely chopped and densely packed (if unavailable, use 2 tsp. dry mint)
1/4 c. freshly squeezed lime juice (the juice of about 2 large limes)
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (Paleo Fitness version of this recipe uses walnut oil, for Omega-3 content)
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper, or to taste
1/8 tsp. salt, or to taste (omit for Paleo prep)
2 tsp. ground sumac (for Paleo prep, be sure to use salt-free sumac)

Directions: Combine onion, cucumbers, tomatoes, and mint in a large bowl and set aside. Combine the remaining ingredients in a blender and pulse until well-combined. Pour dressing on top of salad, and toss until vegetables are completely coated with dressing. Cover and refrigerate, allowing salad to marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving. Serve cold.

Chef’s Notes: Be sure to dice the onion first, followed by the cucumbers, and lastly, the tomatoes, in that particular order, to keep your cutting board as dry as possible. And, make sure to dice them to a uniform size.

Please note, traditionally speaking, garlic is NOT used in this salad. Any so-called Shirazi salad containing garlic is really NOT a Shirazi salad. It is something else. ;)

To make this dish into a meal, simply add a protein source like tofu, grilled chicken, beef, or shrimp, etc.

Sumac can be purchased at most Middle Eastern or Mediterranean stores. If you don't have a local resource, you can always purchase it online.

Yield: 4 servings (of 1 cup each).

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