boston lettuce, oven-dried olives, feta and roasted chickpeas

This salad is about texture as much as it is about flavour. The olives are dried out to the point of being mealy but they are still juicy–the way things are (fruit, tomatoes) when you dry them out yourself. They’re better than simply sun-dried olives on this salad, which you’ll be convinced of once you try them this way–guaranteed. With the roasted chickpeas and Bulgarian feta, more nuttiness and saltiness and more mealiness too, Boston lettuce is absolutely the way to go. It’s buttery, delicate leaves create the perfect fresh envelopes for those strong, drier, flavour-packed bites, and a sharp, straightforward red wine vinaigrette wakes everything up in its path.

This is such a simple salad but definitely one of my favourites now. You and anyone you serve it to will plow through it but I’d be curious to know what you add to it or how you’d like to change it too. I have a feeling you will love the chickpeas and the olives this way but it’s one of those salads that will have you thinking that avocado for more buttery-ness or preserved lemon or another fermented flavour in the dressing would  be awesome (why am I only thinking of this as I type it?) so please, try it, and tell me how you’re changing it.

Boston Lettuce with Oven-dried Olives, Feta and Roasted Chickpeas

*Roasted chickpeas can be found in most major grocery stores–they resembled dried chickpeas but are a shade darker and are, of course, are not raw. They provide a unique texture and nutty flavour but if you can’t source them, use toasted almond slivers or pine nuts in their place.

100g pitted, black, sun-dried olives
1 small shallot, minced
1 tbs red wine vinegar
3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
Juice of ½ lemon
¼ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp ground white pepper (or black pepper)
1 head Boston lettuce, leaves trimmed, washed and completely dried
125 g Bulgarian feta cheese, or other feta cheese
30 g roasted chickpeas*

Preheat oven to 400F degrees and roast olives for about 25 minutes. Remove and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, whisk the shallot into the vinegar and set aside for 5-10 minutes. Then whisk vinegar and shallot mixture into oil, whisk in the lemon, salt and pepper. Toss lettuce leaves evenly in dressing, then plate dressed leaves in a shallow bowl. Crumble the feta over top, sprinkle the roasted chickpeas and olives and serve.

Serves 6.