Thursday, February 19, 2009

Recipe for Salad of Bitter Greens with Sherry Truffle Vinaigrette (Σαλάτα για Τσικνοπέμπτη)

With 11 days to go, Greek Orthodox Easter Lent is fast approaching. For the devout, Lent is a time of spiritual cleansing, and includes fasting from meat and most animal products. Lent ends with the arrival of Easter, which this year is April 19.

Today, however, thoughts of fasting are far, far away. Today is
Tsiknopempti (Τσικνοπέμπτη, pronounced “tseek-no-PEMP-tee”), the day Greeks celebrate grilled meat in all its glory. The magnificent smell of meat on the grill wafts through the air of cities, towns, and villages across Greece, and gives the holiday its name: Burnt Meat Smell Thursday.

In Alaska, we’ll cook our grilled meat
in the fireplace. To accompany it, I’m making a celebratory Salad of Bitter Greens with Sherry Truffle Vinaigrette.

The Vinaigrette is unusual, but it’s a surprisingly good partner for meat of all kinds. When mixed together, tart sherry vinegar and pungent white truffle oil form an entirely new flavor that tames greens’ bitterness and helps balance meat’s richness.

Happy Tsiknopempti!

Radicchio Frisee and Arugula SaladSalad of Bitter Greens with Sherry Truffle Vinaigrette
Serves 8
To preserve the greens’ crispness, dress the salad right before serving. Extra Sherry Truffle Vinaigrette keeps in the refrigerator about a week.

1/4 cup sherry vinegar
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. white truffle oil
Freshly ground black pepper

1 small head
frisée (curly endive)
1 small head
Chioggia radicchio (round-head radicchio)
1 bunch arugula
1 bunch green onions
1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley leaves

Make the Vinaigrette: Put all the ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid and close tightly. Vigorously shake the jar until the ingredients are thoroughly combined and emulsified. Taste and add salt or freshly ground black pepper, as needed. If the oil and vinegar separate, shake the Vinaigrette right before dressing the salad.

Make the Salad: Wash the greens and onions, remove any damaged parts, and spin dry. Slice green onions very thinly on the
diagonal. Tear the frisée, radicchio, and arugula into bite sized pieces, and mix with the parsley leaves and green onion slices in a large salad bowl.

Just before serving, lightly sprinkle the greens with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Toss the salad with an appropriate amount of Sherry Truffle Vinaigrette (there will likely be dressing left over). Serve immediately.
This is my entry for
Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted this week by Susan from The Well-Seasoned Cook.


Anonymous said...

I don't know which is more tempting. The meat or the salad! Both look so delicious :)

Mediterranean Turkish Cook said...

The best part is, this salad goes with almost everything. So fresh and healthy!

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

Happy Tsiknopempti Laurie!!! I will be sure to make some burnt meat instead of Burnt ToastLD

Hunter Angler Gardener Cook said...

Love, love LOVE a bitter green salad in winter. Something so perfect about it. Unfortunately your greens are probably buried in snow right now...

...oh yeah, and that grilled loveliness would hit the spot as well.

Joanne said...

This post reminds me of when I lived in Athens and I was walking by a strip of tavernas once and there was so much meat grilling that the sidewalks were all clouded over with smoke and the smell of meat. There is a Greek neighbourhood here in Toronto (Danforth Ave)and as soon as I step off the metro station near that street, I am completely surrounded with the smell and smoke of grilled definitely brings back memories of tsiknopempti in Greece. I wonder if grilled squid or octopus would count as a tsiknopempti option instead of red meat :D

Peter G | Souvlaki For The Soul said...

As I said to kalofagas, I forgot about tsiknopempti. Enjoy the the dressing too!

Maria Verivaki said...

you are celebrating tsiknopempti in great style - i love your energy

Riana Lagarde said...

i have had greece on the mind today, think i'll do grilled meat in the fireplace today too in respect of the greek tradition :) your salad sounds divine!

Maria said...

Great post Laurie! Kai tou hronou!
Love the look of that meat in the fireplace ... drooling just looking at the photo! The salad sounds delicious and the vinaigrette amazing.

Thistlemoon said...

Wow, this looks and sounds so good. I am drooling over all the Greek blog posts today!

Laurie Constantino said...

Maryann, they tasty pretty good too!

Nihal, I agree - there's something about slightly bitter salad greens that makes the rest of the meal taste better.


Hank, nothing fresh here now - we've still got a couple months to go.

Bijoux, that's a great Athens memory. As for Squid/Octopus for Tsikonopempti, the answer is a definite yes. Sounds wonderful.

Peter G - thanks! As for remembering, I have the relatives to keep me on the correct path.

Maria, any excuse to eat grilled meat!

Riana, I have Greece on my mind too - every time I look out the window and see the snow...

Thanks, Maria!

Jenn, one thing you can say about Greeks is the know how to eat -- and cook!

Susan said...

Fill my salad bowl high, Laurie! I am a huge fan of bitter greens.

Thanks for serving up a great recipe for WHB!

Peter M said...

I've done some fireplace grilling and the results were surprisingly good.

I'm sure your feast by the hearth was delish and the salad is always a welcome side to all that meat!

Laurie Constantino said...

Susan, thanks for hosting WHB this week!

Peter M - exactly! When I have a big old piece of meat, I need a salad for balance.

Kalyn Denny said...

This sounds wonderful; full of complex flavors. I like bitter greens a lot, not sure how I developed the taste for them but they're some of my favorites.

Anonymous said...
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manju said...

The salad sounds wonderful, but Wow, that photo of steaks in the fireplace -- now THAT'S grilling!