|Tunisian salad (without the egg and tuna!)|
Tunisian cooking is a very rich and quite complex cuisine, with culinary influences both ancient and relatively modern, from Rome, Carthage and the Ottoman Empire, to the Middle East and North Africa. It really is a delightful combination of Mediterranean and Arab cuisine with a strong Italian and French influences, a sort of big hello from the other side of the Mediterranean.
Although it has the advantage of being very easy to make, it can be time-consuming when you come to finely dice all the vegetables and fruit. But I would say that virtue will be rewarded as the finely diced fruit and veg may take more time to prepare but the small sizes definitely seems to bring out the fresh, lively flavours.
In this recipe, I have left the peppers and tomatoes raw, but you could lightly grill or roast them too.
Skill level: Easy
½ x cucumber, peeled, de-seeded and finely chopped
200g (about 15) cherry plum tomatoes, finely chopped
1 x green or yellow pepper, finely chopped
1 x red pepper, finely chopped
2 x celery sticks, finely chopped
1 x green apple, peeled and finely chopped
5 x spring onions, finely chopped
2 x hard boiled eggs (to serve)
1 x tin of tuna in oil, (about 200g), drained (to serve)
green olives (to serve)
salt and freshly ground pepper
fresh mint leaves, shredded (optional)
juice of 1 lemon
3-4 tbsp olive oil
a pinch dried mint
- Prepare all the vegetables and fruit and finely chop. Mix together in a bowl.
- Mix the oil and lemon juice together. Add the salt and pepper and a pinch of dried mint. Mix well.
- Lower the eggs into gently boiling water. (Keep the heat just below a simmer . . . more of a constant bubbling blip). Boil for about 10 minutes. Then drain and cool under cold water. When cool, peel and quarter.
- Dress the salad with the vinaigrette ingredients.
- Place the salad into bowl big enough to fit all of the ingredients. Turn out onto the centre of a plate, so that you have a “hill” of salad. (Alternatively you could use a ramekin or small bowl and serve individual portions).
- Surround the salad with the egg quarters, small mounds of drained tuna and the olives and mint if using.
- If using grilled vegetables, stir in a paste made of 1 garlic clove and 2 teaspoons of caraway seeds.