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Picnic recipe: crispy & creamy

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This is the sort of salad I love to take to work. It combines all the flavors and textures I love: crispy and fresh, but yet creamy and a bit sweet. When I was preparing it, I realized I had ran out of pine nuts. At moments like this, late at night, one has to be creative. Or at the least, be willing to try out other options. So, I opened my cupboard which is full of nuts and seeds. Hazelnuts? No, too much trouble to crush them. Cashew nuts? No, I prefer them as a snack. Then I saw the almond flakes. Once bought them for a recipe… which I never made and ever since they were left unused somewhere at the back of my cupboard. Not anymore, because they tasted great with the cheese and the aragan oil.

IMG_1890Speaking of which. Usually, my hands automatically grab the bottle of olive oil, forgetting the other, rather expensive, little bottle: the one with argan oil. It has a unique flavor that doesn’t work in all salads, but it combines wonderfully well with goat and sheep cheese.

IMG_1888 As good observers will notice, the picture of the roasted fennel and sesame seeds wasn’t shot late at night, but in bright daylight, since they were a little leftover from another salad. I used them to give the cheese a sort of marinade.

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I used Manouri: whey cheese of sheep’s milk. It’s Greek, but it tastes milder and less salty then the other more famous Greek one: feta. Of course you can also use feta or any type of goat cheese. What I find so appealing about Manouri is that it tastes fresh and mild, so it’s not too dominate.

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Ingredients:

200 grams / 7 oz Manouri cheese

1 handful arugula

1 handful lamb’s lettuce (corn salad)

1 handful radishes

5 cherry tomatoes

All kinds of sprouts (alfalfa, leek, pea shoots, radish,…)

1 handful of mint leaves

1 tablespoon olives

2 tablespoons sesame & fennel seeds

2 handful almond flakes

Dressing: 4 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons argan oil, 1 teaspoon honey, 1 lime, salt (type “fleur de sel”, black freshly ground pepper

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Preparation method:

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Start with roasting the almond flakes. If you do it in a grill pan instead of the oven, be careful. This is not a multitask-proof sort of thing! Before you know it, you end up with black almond flakes (I’m an expert when it comes to burning seeds or nuts!). Put aside to cool down.
Roast the sesame & fennel seeds. Cut the cheese into slices. Cover them with a light coating of olive oil and the sesame & fennel seeds mix. Cut the cheese into cubes.
Then you can prepare all the vegetables. Sprouts have a tendency to stick together, so I cut them.
Mix the vegetables, mint leaves and the cheese in a bowl.
Mix the ingredients for the dressing and add right before serving.

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