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Author Notes: I enjoy growing a lot of the vegetables I use to cook. In this case, I use herbs and a nice mixture of spices to create the perfect Middle Eastern blend. Adapted from recipes in The Cook's Herb Garden by Jeff Cox and Marie-Pierre Moine. —jack112
Serves 4 people
- 1 large cucumber, peeled
- 15 baby cherry tomatoes
- 1 head sweet romaine lettuce
- 3 spring onions, finely chopped
- 6 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped mint
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 2 tablespoons chopped arugula
- 10-15 almonds
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 4 tablespoons fruity olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon each: sweet paprika, ground sumac, superfine sugar, ground cumin, cinnamon, star anise, fennel, cloves
- 1 pinch each salt and pepper
- Mix together the garlic, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and spices. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Leave to stand while you make the salad.
- Cut the cucumber into four segments lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, and discard them. Cut the flesh into small, neat chunks. Reserve on a plate. Halve the tomatoes, discard some of the seeds, and add to the cucumber. Tear the lettuce into bite-size pieces.
- Put a layer of lettuce into your salad bowl, scatter in some spring onion, and sprinkle in some of the herbs. Add half the cucumber and tomato mixture. Repeat until everything is in the bowl.
- Crush the almonds. I use a hammer over a dish towel, but the method is up to you. Give the dressing a stir, and scatter it over the salad. Toss. Garnish with the crushed almonds.
- Variation: For a spring herb salad with goat cheese, omit the paprika, sumac, sugar, cumin, cinnamon, cloves, star anise, and fennel. Place half the amount of the olive oil, garlic, and lemon in a shallow bowl and mix. Top with 4 heaped tbsp of each chervil, flat-leaf pasley, chopped spring onions, and 2 tbsp each of lemon balm, chives, and dill fronds, all chopped. Scatter over 4 tbsp of crumbled goat's cheese. Toss at the last minute before serving.