Salads can be eaten by itself, and soup, too. But sometimes, one is not enough. Salad alone, especially if it is mainly vegetables, can still leave you a bit hungry. Soups alone, unless it is a thick soup, may also still leave you hankering for more. The best lunch or dinner would be a combination of a salad and a soup. It would be just about right, and not too filling compared to eating meat.
Let us try this recipe for a Greek salad that calls for some grilled vegetables. Here is what we need:
- Zucchini, sliced, 2 pieces large.
- Potato, parboiled and sliced, 1 piece large.
- Onion, sliced, 1 piece large.
- Red bell peppers, seeds removed and cut into quarters, 2 pieces.
- Eggplant, sliced in thick rounds of half inch, 2 pieces medium.
- Feta cheese, crumbled.
- Olive oil to brush over the vegetables while grilling.
Because this is Greek, our vinaigrette, of course, will be olive oil-based. Here are the other ingredients we need:
- Balsamic vinegar, 45 grams.
- Olive oil, 75 grams.
- Garlic, peeled and smashed, 1 clove.
- Dried marjoram, a small pinch.
- Dried mint, 5 grams.
- Dried oregano, 5 grams.
- Coarse salt, 2.5 grams.
- Freshly-ground black pepper, 1.25 grams.
It should take about a quick 35 minutes to prepare the ingredients and cook it. the above quantity would be comfortable up to 6 servings.
How to prepare the vinaigrette:
- in a small bowl, add the ingredients and whisk together.
- let it stay for half an hour for the flavors to blend and settle.
- before using the vinaigrette later, remove the garlic cloves.
How to cook the vegetables:
- put the grill on medium heat.
- put the vegetables over the grill, lightly brushing it with olive oil while it cooks.
- when the vegetables are tender, remove from flame.
How to make the salad:
- cut the grilled vegetables into chunks.
- place in a bowl and add the vinaigrette.
- sprinkle feta cheese on top for presentation and for some zest.
That salad, being all vegetables, is rather light. Even its vinaigrette is also light. It can be combined with a chicken soup for some hearty meal.
This chicken soup is iconic in Greece. It is a great mix of flavors of the egg, lemon and chicken. It is always present in the menu of any Greek restaurant, and if you are lucky to be in Greece during a local festivity, you will definitely have a taste of this soup.
Ingredients for the Chicken Soup:
- Chicken, whole piece, approximately 3.5 lbs (remove the fat and skin).
- Water, 12 cups.
- Celery stalks, halved, 2 pieces.
- Bay leaves, 2 pieces.
- Carrots, halved, 2 pieces.
- Onion, peeled and halved, 1 piece large.
- Black peppercorns, whole, 5 pieces.
- Salt, 10 grams.
- Rice or orzo pasta, 8 tbsps.
- Eggs, 3 pieces.
- Fresh lemon zest, 5 grams.
- Lemon juice, strained, 2 lemons.
- Cornstarch dissolved in water, 2 tbsp (optional if you want thick soup).
Cooking the soup:
- Mix the chicken, water, carrots, celery, onion, bay leaves, black peppercorn and salt in a big pot.
- Bring to a boil, then lower the hit.
- Simmer for about an hour.
- Remove the chicken and vegetables.
- The remaining broth has to be strained through a sieve.
- Put this sieved broth in a pot and boil.
- Add to it the orzo pasta or rice.
- Leave the pot cooking but without cover for 12 minutes or until pasta or rice is tender.
- Prepare the egg-lemon mix while pasta cooks.
- When pasta is cooked, get 2 cups of its broth and place in a container.
- Pour the broth into the egg-lemon mix while still whisking (if you don’t whisk, the broth will curdle the egg).
- Stir the broth and egg-lemon mix over very low heat for 10 minutes, but don’t bring to a boil.
- Add seasoning to taste.
- You can now return the chicken and the vegetables into the broth.
Preparing the egg-lemon mix: (no. 8 step above)
- Beat the eggs until frothy.
- Add the lemon juice and zest while whisking the egg.
Finally, let us answer the question: what do you serve first, soup or salad? Soup goes first.