Wednesday, May 6, 2009

lemon marinated artichoke salad

Salads are becoming one of my favorite springtime meal starters. This is probably at least partially due to the fact that I've been getting fresh greens from my backyard container garden. In general, great lettuce, spinach, and other leafy greens are still plentiful this time of year (though I must say, I've been very sad since the last of my arugula bolted in the warm weather a few weeks ago). Whereas I used to think of salad as lettuce, tomato, and dressing, I'm now realizing there are pretty much endless combinations, making salads much more exciting than I had thought in my early days in the kitch.

As you may have noticed, I'm on a cooking from cookbooks spree. For awhile, my posts were new creations from the kitchen. But our dinner guests from the past two weekends have prompted me to turn back to tested recipes that I have greater confidence will turn out well than my kitchen experiments.

Tonight's salad is from one of my favorite cookbooks of late: The Instant Cook by Donna Hay. I've actually had the cookbook for a few years - I made a couple of things out of it when I first got it and then retired it to the shelf. I'm finding now that I look at it again (through my new California lens), different recipes are jumping off the page, screaming to be made. Marinated artichokes would have sounded exotic (and maybe a little scary) to me in Seattle (not because they don't exist there, but rather because my time spent in the kitchen at that point was little), and I'm not even going to talk about what we ate when we lived in Texas!

This is the first time I've made this salad, and it will definitely go into the "make again" pile. Give it a shot and let me know what you think!

Lemon Marinated Artichoke Salad
Serves 4

8 marinated artichoke hearts, drained and halved
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 zucchinis, sliced
olive oil for brushing
sea salt & cracked black pepper
3 1/2 oz. baby spinach leaves
8 oz. yellow pear tomatoes, halved
4 slices feta cheese
1/4 c. flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, chopped

Combine the artichokes, lemon juice, and olive oil in a bowl. Set aside.

Brush the zucchini slices with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook on a preheated broiler about 1 minute per side (note: I think I might have cut ours a little thick, so ended up broiling it about 3 minutes per side).

Drain the artichokes, reserving the lemon juice and olive oil. Place spinach, tomatoes, and zucchinis on plates and top with feta, artichokes, and parsley. Spoon the reserved lemon juice and olive oil over the salads.

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