Dirt Candy Greek Salad

Adapted by StarChefs.com
August 2009
Yield: 4 Servings

INGREDIENTS:

Pickled Onions
¼ cup kosher salt
1 red onion, julienne
½ cup lime juice
Mushroom Rings
8 cups canola oil
2 cups all purpose flour
12 ounces seltzer water
1 cup panko crumbs
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon sumac
1 tablespoon zaatar
2 trumpet royal mushrooms, cut into ¼-inch slices with centers punched out to make ring
Dressing
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
½ cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Zest of 1 lemon
salt
black pepper
3 cups extra virgin olive oil
½ cup fresh oregano
Salad
1½ cups diced plum tomatoes
1½ cups diced English cucumbers
¾ cup thinly sliced fennel
1 tablespoon chopped dill
2 teaspoons chopped oregano
1½ tablespoons chopped parsley
1 cup sliced black olives
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
Preserved Lemon Mayo
¼ cup chopped preserved lemons, seeds removed
1 cup mayonnaise
Assemble and Serve
1 teaspoon sumac
1 teaspoon zaatar
2 tablespoons crushed toasted pistachios

METHOD:

For the Pickled Onions:
Massage 1 tablespoon of the salt into the onions until liquid starts to seep out. Squeeze all the liquid out. Wash the onions thoroughly and repeat once more. Add 1 tablespoon salt and ¼ cup lime juice. Set aside for 3 hours to macerate. After resting onions, squeeze out all the liquid and, if necessary, repeat the step with lime juice and salt. Properly pickled onions should be bright pink.

For the Mushroom Rings:
Heat the canola oil in a heavy bottomed pot until it reaches 375°F. Mix the flour and the seltzer in a bowl. In a separate bowl mix the panko, the salt, the sumac and zaatar. Dip the mushroom rings in the seltzer mixture and then the panko mixture. Fry the rings in batches for 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer mushroom rings to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

For the Dressing:
In a blender mix the garlic, mustard, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt and black pepper. Add the olive oil in a slow stream. Add the fresh oregano and blend until the oregano is broken up into small pieces.

For the Salad:
In a bowl mix the tomatoes, cucumbers, fennel, dill, oregano, parsley and olives. Toss gently with ¼ cup of the salad dressing. Add the feta and season with salt, if desired.

For the Preserved Lemon Mayo:
Blend the chopped lemons and mayonnaise in a blender until very smooth. Put in a squeeze bottle.

To Assemble and Serve:
Divide the salad onto four plates. Put four rings on top of each salad. Squeeze a few lines of the preserved lemon mayo across the entire plate. Sprinkle with the sumac, zaatar and pistachios. Spoon a tablespoon of pickled onions on the side.