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Israeli Salad

It is summer salad time! One of my favorite food writers, David Lebovitz was just in Israel and wrote about Israeli Salad. I make an Israeli Salad as well, though very different (and way less sophisticated) than David's, and thought I would share the recipe for this simple RV-kitchen-friendly salad. Due to a basket of super-ripe heirloom tomatoes I found at the market this week, Israeli Salad was on our Shabbat menu.

This salad is served all over the Mediterranean, with all sorts of versions. The main ingredients - tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and onion - are also used in a Greek Salad and are star in the gazpacho of Spain. The big difference is the vegetables in an "Israeli Salad" are diced very small and the dressing often uses sumac powder of Zatar seasoning. The salad is eaten throughout the day in Israel - breakfast to dinner - and can also be stuffed inside pita bread.

In Israel, this dish is just called "salad".

Sumac powder is the crushed berry from the sumac flower and is a very common spice in the Middle East and Mediterranean - especially Turkey and Lebanon. Sumac is also found in Zatar, a seasoning mélange of sumac, thyme, sesame seeds and salt. Sumac powder can be found at better supermarkets, Middle Eastern markets or you can order sumac from Amazon.com or Penzys Spices.

Sumac berries

There are no rules here. The Mossad will not zip-line into your kitchen if you add a chopped jalapeno, or dill, or a little cheese, nuts, grains or use two cloves of garlic.

I used one red and one yellow heirloom tomato, so the salad was especially pretty.

3 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, best quality you can find
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 teaspoon sumac powder
A few turns of the pepper grinder, or to taste
1 clove minced garlic

2 large firm-ripe tomatoes, chopped fine, about 2 cups
Half an English cucumber, do not peel, chopped fine, about 1 cup
One red bell pepper, seeded and chopped fine, about one cup
Half of a red onion, chopped fine, about ½ cup
3 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint leaves
One large handful flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped

Whisk the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside. Chop the tomatoes, cucumber, pepper, onion and herbs. Place in a salad bowl and pour the dressing over and gently toss to evenly coat the vegetables with the dressing. Serves 4.

For lunch, serve Israeli salad over a bed of greens - yes a salad on top of salad! Or mound the salad over avocado halves. It is also great with grilled meats, or with eggs.

Shabbat Shalom!

Until my next update, I remain, your healthy correspondent.