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Matt Preston

Matt Preston

Food critic and journalist
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Warm Middle Eastern herb salad recipe

Lifestyle — Posted 26/11/14

The perfect beach or BBQ salad with flavours that get better over time.

Serves: 4-6

Ingredients

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 zucchinis, quartered and cut into chunks

1 × 400 g can chickpeas, rinsed and well drained

3 garlic cloves, sliced

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

70 g (1⁄2 cup) pepitas

1 teaspoon coriander seeds, crushed

1⁄2 teaspoon cumin seeds, crushed

1 bunch mint

1 bunch flat-leaf parsley

salt flakes

Lemon tzatziki

zest and juice of 1 lemon

1 cup Greek yoghurt

1 small Lebanese cucumber, peeled and diced

salt flakes

100 g feta

Method

1. First make the lemon tzatziki so the flavours can develop. Add the lemon zest to the yoghurt and stir to combine.

2. Toss the cucumber in a little salt and the lemon juice. Leave for 10 minutes.

3. Drain the cucumber, reserving the liquid. Mix the cucumber into the yoghurt. Taste and add more lemon zest or a few drops of the reserved salty lemon and cucumber juice to taste. Crumble over the feta in a smallish rubble. Cover with plastic wrap and leave in the fridge until ready to serve.

4. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan, then add the zucchini chunks and the chickpeas. Fry them until the pan side of the zucchini is browned. Flip over the zucchini and keep frying; jiggle the pan. When everything starts to look brown and gnarly, stir in the garlic.

5. Cook for another minute or so and then add the vinegar. It will sizzle and put up an eye-watering steam. Now pour the contents of the frying pan onto a plate to cool to just warm. Now is the time to chase those kids of yours or to grill the lamb.

6. Using the same pan, fry the pepitas with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the coriander and cumin seeds. Cook, tossing occasionally, until the pepitas start to turn from green to tannish.

7. While the pepitas are toasting, bundle the herbs together in your left fist so they look like a compressed green baton and slice them finely. Or you can use scissors to snip the herbs directly onto a generous-sized platter. You’ll have a lovely pile of fragrant herbs.

8. Part the herbs and push them to the sides of the platter, leaving a clear bit in the middle. Now, work quickly so the herbs stay fresh! Pour the cooled but still slightly warm zucchini and chickpeas into that gap in the middle. Pour over the warm, spiced pepitas. Sprinkle with salt flakes and toss.

9. Serve your salad warm and dolloped with half of the lemon tzatziki, with any remaining tzatziki served on the side.

This recipe appears in Cook Book by Matt Preston, available now from Pan Macmillan. 

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