A friend and I used to provide picnics in our valley. We mowed a small area, set up table and chairs, and laid the table with linens, tableware and flowers. Guests were asked if they wanted cows present or not. Almost all asked for them to be around. We catered for romantic couples, to large family groups looking for an afternoon away from it all to reconnect. Working away up at the house, we could hear them through the open windows, laughing and talking. Often they would take a meander through the meadows after their meal, stretching the event out as long as possible.
We were always on the lookout for side dishes that collectively would present a colourful, unique yet cohesive meal. Here’s a wonderful plated salad from those beautiful summer picnics.
For 6 side salads
1 T olive oil
½ onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, chopped
½ c milk
⅓ c crumbled feta, chèvre or ricotta
1½ T olive oil
1 jalapeño, seeded & chopped
½ t salt
¼ t turmeric
Salad greens – allow for about an ounce per plate 1- a big handful
Optional topping – chopped hard-boiled eggs or sliced black olives
Cook the potatoes in salted, gently boiling water for 15 minutes or until a knife pierces to the center easily.
Drain and let cool to room temperature.
While the potatoes cool, make the dressing.
Heat 1 T of oil in a skillet.
Add in the onion and garlic, and cook until softened.
Put the cooked onion and garlic into a processor or blender.
Add in the peanuts, milk, cheese, oil, jalapeño, salt and turmeric.
Arrange the greens on the plates.
Peel and slice the potatoes into ¼” slices and arrange on the greens.
Top with egg or olives if using.