Thursday, August 25, 2011
Roast Red Onion and Cucumber Salad
Though it is August most of this week has seemed like deepest autumn, with days of rain, endless cloud and insufficient light. When the sun comes it is too low, the shadows thrown are longer, thicker and somehow insistent to be noticed.
I refuse to give in just yet, I still plan salads in my head to go with quick grilled meats and easy to rustle up and delightful to graze cold collations, as if trying to keep the kitchen cool against sultry summer nights. It's working, too well. I've been wrapped in cardigans for days, sandals gone in favour of shoes that keep the puddles at bay and my latest pedicure out of view. Pffff!
Fightback Tuesday involved little spicy meatballs tucked into pita with steamed beetroot salad topped with this wonderfully complex yoghurt dressed salad. I am endlessly taken with the pairing of yoghurt and dill, most herbs really but dill in particular, and here it was put to brilliant use dressing umami rich grilled onions and sweet cucumber with little sour bursts from tiny salted capers wrapped into the richness of tahini. It was the tahini that made me pair it with lamb but it would work equally well with chicken and perhaps grilled fish.
Roast Red Onion & Cucumber Salad
This makes about 2 cups and should be perfect at a barbecue but will have to wait till next 'summer' to test the truth of that!
Adapted from Weeknight Kitchen of The Splendid Table
1 large red onion, sliced into thick rounds
1 1/2 tbspns olive oil
1/2 cucumber, peeled and diced into 1cm cubes
1 tbspn salted capers, rinsed
150ml plain full fat yoghurt
1 tbspn tahini
1 tbspn lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tspn ground cumin or use cumin seeds lightly toasted
1 tbspn mint, finely chopped
3 tbspns dill, finely chopped
Brush the onion slices with some of the olive oil, and season lightly. Grill them under a medium-high heat, turning them once, until the slices are tender and a little bit charred round the edges, about 10 minutes.
When the onions are cool enough to handle, chop them into 1 cm dice and put them into a bowl. Add the cucumbers and capers and stir to blend.
To make the dressing, combine the yoghurt with the remaining olive oil tahini, lemon juice, garlic and cumin in a small bowl. Stir through the herbs then season.
Add half the sauce to the onion mix and stir to coat the vegetables. Add more dressing to get the consistency that works for you. Serve immediately though it will keep for a couple of days in the fridge, if it lasts that long.