Monday, May 9, 2011

Surprise Salad #1

Okay, here’s the first of the surprise salad recipes I promised you!

This is a salad that you’d use if your husband brought home an old service buddy he met again downtown, and it’s almost dinnertime, you haven’t gone to the store, and you can’t make dinner reservations because all the “extra” in your bank account went to band fees, school fees, tuition, gasoline or some other unavoidable "luxury."


Grab a couple of cans, some stuff from the fridge, and a few herbs from the pantry, and you’re set for a refreshing salad that will pass any muster. You will need:

1 (14.5 oz) can of diced tomatoes
1 (14.5 oz) can of pitted black olives
the “heart” of a fresh celery
2 Tbsps capers from a jar
3 large pieces of roasted red peppers from a jar, drained
4-5 large fresh sprigs of parsley, Italian flat-leaf parsley or cilantro OR
2 Tbsps dried versions of one of the above, soaked in:
3 Tbsps red wine vinegar (apple cider vinegar will do if wine’s a problem)
3-4 Tbsps virgin or extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup freshly-made or storebought cheese croutons
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste


Remove the “heart” from the celery. That is the lighter-colored, more tender, sweeter, inner section of the celery, about 2” in diameter or a bit more. The whole plant is a “stalk;” the individual pieces are called “ribs.” The outer ribs will be darker and tougher than the heart. Slice the celery heart, leaves and all, into ¼” slices and place in a colander. Wash thoroughly under running cold water. Place in a medium-sized salad bowl. Rinse the two Tbsps of capers under running cold water to remove some of the salt. Add to bowl. Open, drain and rinse the olives, and add them to the salad bowl. Open, drain—saving the juice—and reserve the tomato dice in the salad bowl. Save the juice in your freezer container for soup next week. Open the roasted red peppers, remove 3 large pieces and dice them. Add them to the salad also. Rinse, pick and chop fine the herbs if using fresh herbs; otherwise soak the 2 Tbsps of dried herb, (whether parsley, Italian flat-leaved parsley or cilantro—but not all) in the 3 Tbsps of red wine vinegar. Let soak for 10 or 15 minutes, then add herb and vinegar to the bowl. Season to taste. Add the olive oil and toss gently, trying not to bruise or break the ingredients. If desired, finely sliced green onions (scallions) are a nice addition instead of the sliced Vidalia or red onion. Add the croutons at the very last, just as you plate up the salad.

This goes well with plain, hearty meals and gives a nice freshness to any meal. Quick and easy. Try it sometimes. You’ll be glad you did.

See you next time!


  1. Sounds like a yummy salad. How are you? I haven't heard from you in a while and thought I'd check up.

  2. Hi, Holly!
    I haven't visited my blog for a couple of years, because I had a small stroke about 3 years ago and couldn't remember the passwords to get into my blog itself. I've recuperated, but still have no idea how to get into the blog, and oh, I've got some terrific recipes I'm just dying to share with all of you! Please check "eatingyourgarden" out from time to time, in hopes I can recoup my blog (and my friends who read it!) Best wishes and happy days,