Alan’s Garden Salad
The worst part about living an apartment is that we can’t garden (the best part is never having to mow a lawn or shovel a driveway). Sure, we can put a box or pot in the window that will yield a pepper or a little bundle of herbs, but it’s nothing compared to what even the smallest yard will produce with modest effort. Luckily, at this time of year our home-owning friends are starting to get overwhelmed by the bounty of their gardens — a combination of guilt in wasting a single hard-won veggie and the feeling that if one eats another eggplant that’s it for them — and Tom and I can swoop in to reap the benefits save the day. And so it was that Friday after work Tom and I raided my friend Alan’s garden while Alan was away at work and his dogs safely locked up inside the house.
Alan grows long, thin Japanese cucumbers, a variety of tomatoes, and many other types of vegetables and herbs. Along the side of his house he’s created a system of trusses to support a high density of tomatoes and peppers, using strings and posts to support the plants. In the back, he has another garden along the fence where cucumbers share space with onions, celery, beets, greens, and more. Looking at it all we were amazed with what can be grown in a well-planned, small space.
Not wanting to take more than our share (though Alan would certainly have encouraged more on us had he been there), we gathered a bowlful of black cherry tomatoes, three cucumbers, and a sampling of tiny peppers and basil. Tom put together a Greek salad with the cucumbers and tomatoes — and mint and oregano from our own window box. Thanks Alan!
For the salad, combine the following in a large bowl:
- Cherry tomatoes, halved
- Cucumbers, peeled and sliced
- Greek Feta cheese, crumbled by hand
- 1 large shallot, sliced
- 2 sprigs fresh mint, finely chopped
- 2 sprigs fresh oregano, finely chopped
For the dressing:
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon sumac
- Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Whisk the dressing and taste for seasoning. Pour over the salad and toss.