I called this ‘Easter salad’ because this is the traditional green salad we serve on Easter, next to the rack of lamb. It’s also the perfect salad to make post Easter, because it uses all these left over boiled eggs. It’s a super delicious salad – a celebration of spring, that features the first greens of the season – baby tender lettuces, green garlic, spring onions, cucumbers and radishes, all dressed up in lemon juice and olive oil. It’s an explosion of fresh flavors, with an added layer of textures and sustenance from the Kalamata olives, and boiled eggs, left from the morning egg fight.
For those, unfamiliar with this custom, this is a tradition practiced in many cultures, and for us, it was the most anticipated Easter ritual, besides the egg dying, that brings so many fond memories. We didn’t grow up with egg hunts – it was egg fights for us. It was the first thing we did on Easter morning – every one would pick their favorite egg, and we would try to crack each other’s eggs – pointy end to pointy end, bottom to bottom – until we have a winner egg, that’s left unbroken on both ends. Needless to say, this game sparked the competitive spirit among all kids, and we would engage in an endless egg fighting until all eggs were cracked all over. According to custom, the winner of the game whose egg was left intact, is said to enjoy great health throughout the year.
This salad is perfect for any time of the year while green lettuce and cucumbers are in season, but it’s all the more precious when the first greens appear in early spring. I wanted to share this salad because of its unique combination of ingredients that go together so well.
You get slight peppery notes from the radishes, mild garlic and onion flavor, and freshness from the cucumbers. Green garlic is preferable here but has a short season. If you miss it, no worries, just add 1-2 crushed garlic cloves to the dressing. Kalamata olives work best, but any other black olives, especially if marinated in oil and vinegar will do.
You can use curly green leaf, or red leaf lettuce, or a combination of the two, but don’t substitute Romaine, or Iceberg lettuce. Unlike most salads, and against all rules, the lettuce is shredded into thin ribbons for this salad – as thin as 1/4 inch. You serve it in a deep bowl so you can attack with your fork, in a stab-and-twist motion, and get as many goodies as possible (all the goodies tend to fall to the bottom as they are heavier), kind of like a bowl of spaghetti.
Arrange a few sliced boiled eggs on top – the more, the better. Don’t be stingy with the olives too – they are one of the best things in this salad. Make the dressing with fresh lemon juice, or use apple cider vinegar, or a combination of the two – it works great either way, but I think lemon juice adds such a fresh flavor, that it makes it irresistibly delicious, and even kids dive in with gusto!
- 1-2 green leaf or red leaf lettuce
- 3-4 Persian cucumbers, or 1 English cucumber
- a bunch of radishes, cut thinly
- ⅔ cup Kalamata olives
- 3-4 boiled eggs
- 3-4 stalks spring onions, chopped (green + white parts)
- 2-3 stalks green garlic, chopped (green + white parts), or 1-2 cloves crushed garlic
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice, or 3-4 tbs apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Cut lettuce into thin ribbons, ¼ inch thick.
- Chop spring onions and green garlic for a total of ½ - ⅔ cup.
- Peel and slice the cucumbers.
- Slice radishes thinly.
- Make a quick dressing of the lemon juice and olive oil. Add crushed garlic if you don't use green garlic.
- Mix all veggies with the dressing, add a few pinches of salt, and adjust the lemon juice/vinegar amount if needed.
- Arrange the sliced boiled eggs, and Kalamata olives on top.