Today is Kathara Deutera, literally translated as Clean Monday. It is the beginning of Lent in Greece. Traditionally on this day we fly kites and eat foods like taramosalata, melitzanosalata, lagana bread (a special type of bread with a lovely crust), seafood, pickled vegetables and lots of other delicacies like dolmades.

So this week, we’ve prepared for you a classic salad, made with black eye beans. We’ve added plenty of cupboard staples, like capers, roasted red peppers and sun-dried tomatoes, but also fresh parsley and red onion. For that extra kick, we’ve used our balsamic chilli vinegar, a beautiful organic vinegar. It is made from grape must from the Nemea P.D.O wine process using the ubiquitous Agioritiko red grape variety, infamous in this region of the Peloponnese. This vinegar is then aged in French oak barrels for three years.

This salad is perfect served cold or at room temperature, and ideally the day after, so that all flavours blend together. As always, feel free to add more of anything you really love, and omit anything you don’t like.

Serves 6

300g black eye beans
1 bay leaf
3 tbsp capers, drained
1/2 jar roasted red peppers, drained
1 jar sun-dried tomatoes in their oil
1 small red onion
3 tbsp balsamic chilli vinegar
½ tub olives
1 large bunch fresh parsley

Place your beans in a medium-sized pot. Fill it up with water, add the bay leaf and over high heat bring it to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and cook for about 20 minutes, until the beans are tender but not mushy. Drain and set aside to cool.

In a large serving bowl add the capers and olives.

Finely chop the roasted peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, onion and parsley and add to your bowl.

Add the beans and toss everything together. Drizzle the olive oil from the sun-dried tomatoes and the vinegar and toss well again.

Season with salt and pepper if needed and serve with more olive oil and vinegar.

 


As you know we love salads that ain’t exactly salads. By that we mean that they go beyond leafy greens and dressing. Ingredients such as bulgur (and dried prunes!), dakos, favaki or lentils form the basis for colourful, filling dishes. These non-salads are great for a light dinner, and perfect for lunch. If you have leftovers, some of our readers also have them for breakfast, with the addition of a couple of fried eggs. Try it, it actually works!

This week, with fall in its full swing, we will be using black eye beans. These are very popular in the southern United States, cooked with pork for added flavour. In Greece things are, as you may have guessed, simpler. Greeks enjoy these legumes boiled and served simply with olive oil, lemon and a bit of salt. You see, Greek cuisine is all about simplicity in flavours.

And so are we at Oliveology. However, we will of course add a few more ingredients. Vegetables and herbs. And of course, keep the olive oil and lemon. The secret for this recipe is to boil the black eye beans in salted water. So that when you drain them, your main ingredient will be very flavourful on its own. Most of us usually season our dishes in the end. But this trick here makes all the difference.

For this salad, we recommend using parsley. However, you can use whatever herb you prefer. Dill would work great, and so would mint.

Serves 2 for main or 4 as a side
200g black eye beans
1tbsp coarse salt
1 bay leaf
½ cucumber
15 cherry tomatoes
zest of one lemon
1 small bunch of parsley
Plenty of olive oil (to serve)
Lemon juice (to serve)

In a medium-sized pot place the black eye beans, salt and bay leaf. Boil until tender. Strain and let cool.

Slice your cherry tomatoes in half. Dice your cucumber. Finely chop your parsley. Zest the lemon.

In a large bowl mix the black eye beans, tomatoes, cucumber, parsley, lemon zest. You can serve your salad at room temperature or cold. Before serving, drizzle with plenty of olive oil and lemon juice.