Salmagundi: Salads from the Middle East and Beyond

“A question. If someone tells you that it’s salad for dinner, isn’t there a teeney petulant you that stomps their foot a little at the prospect of being fed rabbit food as a repast? Be honest now. You are not alone…[but] you can make anything into a salad. There are no rules.” – Sally Butcher

As a vegetarian, I know my salads.  I know that in order to have a great salad, you need the right amount of crispy and tender, savory and tart, exotic and traditional. The perfect salad is all about balance.  While I know this inherently, it is another thing entirely to concoct salads that are especially delicious and original.  Salad ruts are not mythical events, sadly. That is precisely why Salmagundi: Salads from the Middle East and Beyond is such a thrill.  This simple and elegant guide to all things salad is a special treat to those trying to expand upon dull, boring salads and try out exotic, flavorful options.

With stunning pictures, insight into every aspect of salad-making, and a wealth of salad basics (from herbs to dressings), this book is a hefty resource for hearty salads. Penny Pickle’s Peckham Salad, Chinese Leaves with Spiced Tofu, Green Pea and Sorrel Salad, Avocado and Citrus Salad, and Gazpacho Salad prove that the salads extend beyond the Middle East. Salad-I-Shirazi and Fatoush add Middle Eastern flavor, but exotic Asian salads like Asparagus Shira-ae and Quick Pickled Salad with Cabbage expand your salad repertoire. With salad recipes from around the globe, Salmagundi proves that salad is more the rabbit food and offers a delicious and diverse collection of fresh salad recipes that explore global flavors. Salads were never so fun or satisfying.

Try out this recipe for Date and Beetroot Slaw to test out one exotic salad from Salmagundi.

Date and Beetroot Slaw

1/2 bulb fennel, very finely sliced

1/2 head of radicchio, shredded

1 carrot, grated

2 sticks of celery, chopped

1 bunch scallions, chopped

3/4 cup pitted dates, halved

1/2 cup plain yogurt (non-dairy if vegan)

2 tsp date syru

2 tsp creamed horesradish

juice of 1/2 lime

2/3 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced

1/2 tsp caraway seeds

salt and pepper

2 small beetroot, peeled and grated

handful of fresh mint, shredded

1. Toss the first 6 ingredients together in a bowl. Whisk the yogurt with the dates, date syrup, horseradish, lime, spices and seasoning. Finally, stir the beetroot into the slaw, mix in the dressing, and sprinkle with mint.

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