Folks, it’s hot out here—like a gothic southern classic complete with sweating iced teas and hand fans working hard during a lethargic game of bridge kind of hot. I’ve lived in a couple of different places that I’d testify in a court of law were in fact what Nelly was singing about when he instructed us to take off all our clothes—he’s from St. Louis, so I think my testimony would hold up—but right now Hawaii is in a heat wave so intense and never-ending that our paradise street cred is being seriously jeopardized. During these dog days, I can’t muster the energy to do anything other than turn on my fan, and the thought of turning on the oven or stove is enough to make me stick my head in the freezer. My cravings have become markedly cooler, and since I can’t eat ice cream for every meal (just lunch), I’m revisiting my repertoire of salads.
I created this particular salad a few years ago while visiting my sister and fellow heat-hater; we wanted something incredibly simple yet still delicious. We tasked her husband with manning the grill and found in this the perfect summer dinner. You can do the same and toss it with some diced grilled chicken to make a complete meal or serve it as a vegetarian side. It boasts strong Mediterranean flavors and keeps for days, so you can snack on it straight from the fridge while trying to climb inside (the fridge, not the salad, though that could be fun too). Whatever works when you don’t have air conditioning.
And, if you do have air conditioning, invite me over and I’ll bring this salad, some cards to play bridge with, and a few pillows so that I can spend the next month camping on your floor.
- 2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1½ cups grape tomatoes, sliced in half
- One ball of fresh mozzarella, cut into small cubes
- ¼ cup diced red onion
- zest of one lemon
- juice of one lemon
- 1 tbsp minced garlic, to taste
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp minced fresh herbs (parsley, dill, oregano, or basil will work)
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning (dried oregano or basil are also fine)
- coarse salt (kosher or sea) to taste (table salt will also work)
- black pepper to taste
- Mix the first four ingredients together (chickpeas, tomatoes, mozzarella, onion) in a large bowl.
- Toss the remaining ingredients together in a separate bowl, then pour over the chickpea mixture and stir.
- Let the salad rest in the refrigerator at least an hour before serving.