Tahini heaven with an assist by Feta

This tastes like everything. A salad. A main course and yes even an ice cream sundae in bits and pieces.

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Sundae Salad starring Tahini dressing and Feta

Every kitchen must have a bottle of tahini going. Some doenjang in the fridge not to mention several favourite vinegars and at least a few kinds of seeds. Every cook must be able to properly roast a chicken regularly with no effort. Thus a steady supply of leftover cold roast chicken. As to good veg what can beat broccoli eh?

The taste of mysteriousness in tahini, the ice creamy taste that apple and honey brings combined with the saucy sense you are eating a good meat roast with two veg thanks to the chicken and yes, veg.  I oughta call this Sundae Salad. Kept taking me back to one of the earliest Sundae experiences from my youth in Colombo. The knickerbockerglories at Zellers in Bamba near our school. Some of my early and sweetest food related memories. With everything from nougat, a jammy cherry-like thing on top, toasted cashews ground up, toasted peanuts, some fruit, and so on and so forth all in air-conditioned Colombo comfort. If Halo Halo were a salad this might perhaps come close but then you might want to debate me on that.

Why it even hand hints of bagel. Toasted poppy seed topping. That’s what. By accident one of the best meals I’ve ever had. Been longing for a tahini dressing fix and happened to have perfect roast chicken (not that dry stuff), steamed broccoli and a day full of distractions with a long neglected piece of pork shoulder in the bottom of the fridge. A hot day (and now threats of severe thunderstorms and notice Ontario’s first Tornado happened today, or was it yesterday). The delicate little flowers on the tree outside in bloom like a great big bouquet and Marisa Lazo got easy bail. Rightly so. Lots of excitement around and spring allergies abound. I’m thinking thank heavens Marisa Lazo did not decide to climb a crane today because I’ve so far noticed high winds, rain, possibly lightening coming soon. A good day for a salad eh?

As to the dressing the core of the story is tahini. Made smokier with doenjang and a little smoked paprika. The dressing supplemented by lemon juice, sesame oil and consistency adjusted with water. Grace Hot Sauce gave it an edge and the vinegar a hint of tang. The mystery ingredient is grated ancient apple that has been sitting in the bottom of my fridge possibly since January. Ha ha. Appears it lost something and gained something over time. Honestly. No onion by the way. It would be too harsh and definitely sacrilegious.

Here goes. No strict recipe but general idea appears below. Try to match it or feel free to improvise and substitute. This is a keeper for me with hot days to come soon. Amounts are approximations and likely this could easily be the only square meal one might need once a day; and definitely happy-making.

Ingredients for Tahini dressing

About 1/3 – 1/2 cup tahini well mixed so it is not just oil

About 1/4 cup lemon juice

2-3 tablespoons of microplaned ripe sweet apple (skinned) (or pureed)

1-2 tablespoons of sesame oil

1 teaspoon of honey or more to taste

1/2 – 1 teaspoon doenjang (or miso in a pinch)

1/2 teaspoon Grace Hot Pepper Sauce (or your favourite vinegary hot sauce) or more to taste

1 – 1 1/2 teaspoon or more to taste of Ceylon Coconut Vinegar (or malt vinegar if in a pinch)

1 small clove garlic, microplaned into a fine ground light mush

A pinch of smoked paprika

Ingredients for salad

1 1/2 to 2 cups steamed broccoli florets, chilled. Then sliced thin lengthwise into fork-sized pieces

About a cup of cold cooked roast chicken cut into 1/2 or 3/4 inch cubes. Make sure it is not dry or overcooked.

1/2 cup cubed cucumber cut into 3/4 inch cubes

1/2 cup cubed ripe tomato

1/4 cup seeded green pepper cut into bite sized pieces

a little cold water to adjust consistency

salt and pepper to taste

Topping for Sundae Salad

About a 1/4 cup of largely crumbled feta

About two tablespoons of toasted pumpkin seeds (toasted under broiler and cooled)

About a tablespoon of toasted poppy seeds (just put under broiler for a minute or two till it starts to hint at smoke). Leave to cool.

Method

First the salad dressing. Place all ingredients in bowl and whip it together with whisk.  It should be a creamy consistency, like heavy whipping cream. If it is too thick adjust consistency by adding cold water in drops. Taste for seasoning and adjust acid, heat and sweetness as well as salt and if needed pepper. If you want to do this in a food processor, go ahead. Still I feel the garlic and the apple should be pureed or microplaned just before using so it’s a smooth fine ground fresh mush.

Lightly combine vegetables and chicken in a bowl. Add enough salt and pepper and adjust seasoning. Using half the vegetable chicken mix, place in two serving bowls. Dribble generously with dressing then half the nuts and poppy seeds. Add rest of salad ingredients and dribble more dressing. Then top with feta and remaining nuts and poppy seed.

If there is excess dressing, refrigerate in sealed container for a few days. But likely you’ll want more dressing as you mow through your Sundae Salad.

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Serves two as a light meal or one very very hungry person.