Herb Salad with Feta Cheese, Halvah, and Green Almonds

March 23, 2018Amelia Saltsman
Recipe by
Amelia Saltsman

The Persian tradition of a sabzi platter – aromatic herbs, radishes, alliums, salty feta, and sweet halvah – is equally delicious in salad form and a great way to use up all those extra herbs you bought for your sedersederסֵדֶר"Order;" ritual dinner that includes the retelling of the story of the Israelite's Exodus from Egypt; plural: sederim. . Another seasonal Persian favorite, green (or immature) almonds, adds an unusual tart note.

When very young, the entire almond fruit is edible, from its green, peach-like fuzzy outer layer to the clear, jelly-like nascent nut inside. As it matures, the still tender nutmeat whitens and the outer layer becomes too hard to eat. Look for them at farmers’ markets in almond-growing areas and also at Persian groceries. Green almonds are lovely both raw and pickled.

If you don’t have green almonds, well... make this beautiful early-spring salad anyway!

Ingredients
SALAD
1 small head butter lettuce, large leaves torn
1/2 to 1 bunch regular chives or leek chives, snipped
1/2 bunch mint, preferably Persian, torn
Leaves of a few sprigs of tarragon
4 to 6 radishes, thinly sliced
1/4 to 1/2 cup (1 to 2 ounces/30 to 55 g) green almonds
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DRESSING
1 to 2 tablespoons walnut oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Finishing salt, such as Maldon sea salt or sel gris, or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
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TOPPNGS
3 ounces (85 g) feta cheese, preferably French, broken into 1/2 - to 1-inch (12-mm to 2.5-cm) chunks or sliced
3 ounces (85 g) halvah, broken into 1/2 - to 1-inch (12-mm to 2.5-cm) chunks or sliced (use kosher for Passover during the holiday)
Directions
  • In a salad bowl, combine the lettuce, chives, mint, tarragon, and radishes. Just before serving, thinly slice the almonds crosswise and add to the salad. Drizzle the oil and lemon juice over the salad, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat evenly.
  • Mound the salad on a serving platter or divide among individual salad plates. Top with large feta and halvah crumbles or serve with slabs of each on the side.

Reprinted with permission from The Seasonal Jewish Kitchen © 2015 by Amelia Saltsman, Sterling Epicure, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. Photo by Staci Valentine.

Learn more about the history of Jewish Persian food and find additional recipes.