Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Salads on a Plane!

I'm on a plane right now. It's a bit bumpy. It's hard to tell if it's bumpy because of turbulence or if it's because the guy in the aisle seat of my row has an aggressive leg shake. Actually, not a single leg shake. He alternates legs.

There's also a cat on the plane, two rows behind me. The cat is not very happy about flying.

This is an understatement.

In fact, said cat might be the least happy about flying of all the sentient beings onboard, except for all the people on the plane who have to listen to the cat screech and whine. 

Cat's got some pipes, man.

Anyhow,  I brought my lunch with me on the plane today because on Sunday I had the foresight to pull together this summery salad which I am having a minor love affair with this month.

Please note the gigantic bottle of water. I get two of these now before every flight. You really don't realize how dehydrating planes are until you start to fly so often that it practically hurts to blink.

This is barely a recipe. But here are the component parts.
Quantities are approximate (at best).

Kate's Summer Travel Salad

Serves 4 as a side or 2 for full meals


Half a sack of roasted baby potatoes. I think that's about 3 cups. I'm talking about the ones the size of large marbles because I love miniature food but of course you could just chop up and roast a regular Yukon Gold or two. (Toss with olive oil and salt and roast for 20-30 mins at 425 degrees until they are a bit browned in spots.)

A pint of slow-roasted cherry tomatoes. (Cut in half and toss with olive oil and kosher salt; roast at 325 for 40 minutes to an hour, until they get caramel-y. Yes, that's a word.)

2 large handfuls of steamed green beans, trimmed, and cut into 1- to 2-inch pieces

Sauteed chunks of summer squash, from about 2 squashes, any shape. I like mine sauteed to the point of being practically charred. It tastes delicious like that. 

One-third of a bunch or so of flat-leaf parsley. Pick the leaves off the stems but leave the leaves whole. Or just very coarsely chop the parsley if you are lazy or pressed for time, or both.

1/2 of a preserved lemon rind. This is the magic ingredient. Chop up the rind (after removing the pulp and rinsing) into 1/4-inch bits. 

Pitted, oil cured black olives, halved. If you don't like oil-cured olives, used pitted green olives that aren't too briny. Do not use Kalamata, they are far too briny and puckery and will make the whole salad taste sour.

Extra virgin olive oil, kosher or sea salt, and freshly ground pepper

Combine all the vegetables and lemon in a bowl and toss until everything is well-distributed.

Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, toss, and taste. 

Add more salt and pepper as needed. 

Look at that nice fat square of preserved lemon on top, mugging for the camera.

This recipe is hard to screw up so feel free to play around with it. Basil would be a great addition. So would corn.

I like adding a poached egg or two to turn this into "dinner," when not on a plane. Some grilled chicken would be great, too, and travel-hardy.

This salad is awesome because it can sit in your bag unrefrigerated for a few hours during the whole TSA-frisking-through-harrowing-boarding-process, through takeoff, and even several hours into your flight and stay perfectly fresh. There's no lettuce to wilt - the parsley stays really perky. You can also make this the night before or even two days in advance with no compromise to taste or texture. (I think the flavor actually improves when it's been mixed at least a day ahead of eating.)

Bon Voyage and Bon Appetit!

1 comment:

Catherine said...

Ah, the telltale signs of the office in the sky:
-The nice "grown up" work bag crammed under the seat, a splurge to make you feel like all the time in the sky is worth something
-The fold-out tray table because you're in the slightly better exit row seat, or upgraded to first on the mini Barbie planes
-Laptop with keys that have traces of food on them from having to multi-task in a small space
-Bottle of water that you're not sure is worth the trouble expensing, even though it was hideously expensive.

I will have to give the plane picnic a try!