Balkan chopped salad

June 8, 2008 at 5:04 pm Leave a comment


Originally uploaded by jaimecru

Last night after a lovely conversation with a friend who is of Hungarian descent, I was inspired to break open my new tin of paprika. Not in any way ambitious enough at the moment to rawify goulash or some other traditional paprika-laced stew, I decided to create a salad inspired by ingredients from the Balkans. The ingredients are all familiar staples in the raw pantry, but the combination was quite special. This salad was a nice deviation from traditional Mediterranean flavors, and the paprika was a sneaky little Eastern addition. I chopped all the toppings into small pieces to allow each forkful to include several flavors!

Bed of baby spinach and mixed greens
1/2 cucumber
1/8 C red onion
3 sundried tomatoes
3 Turkish apricots
handful of soaked almonds
handful Kalamata olives
1 greek pepperoncini (not quite raw, but nice)
10 basil leaves
1/2 lemon, juiced
heavy-handed pour of olive oil
sea salt
big shake of Hungarian paprika

Years ago, when I was an Army gal, I spent some time serving in Bosnia. I was newly married and not too eager for a deployment. The good news was that I was able to spend about a month of that time in the heart of Budapest! What a fabulous city. Incredible architecture, super sexy accents, and exquisite food. My hubby got away from his duty station in Italy to visit me for a long weekend in Budapest. We gorged ourselves on 5-star SAD food and wine and apricot palinka. This salad is a far cry from the mad foie gras of that weekend, but a wonderful symbol of fresh beginnings. My hubby has been working out of the country for some time, and will be returning home full-time next Sunday. This salad will be a perfect celebratory meal for us…totally fresh but with a hint of warm nostalgia. Egészségedre (to your health!)


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