greek with envy.

raise your hand if you have one recipe that seems to completely evade you and a friend who whips it up perfect every time.
oh i forgot you can't see me...i am raising my hand.

you see i have this friend who i used to gaze at through rose coloured glasses {i haven't seen her for awhile so i don't know what the colour would be now...probably still rose...} and for the most part she could do no wrong. especially when it came to making greek salad. she was a natural. a blooming chef! i always got excited when the trip over to her place included standing over a bowl of greek salad in the kitchen and catching up...oh you didn't realize when we were "getting dinner almost finished" that's what we were doing? huh, bummer.

anyways...she made it so awesome! and no matter how many times i tried to join together oil, vinegar, oregano and garlic...the failure was epic. epic i tell you. and then i felt so worthless and tiny. why couldn't i do it? why couldn't i make a greek salad worthy of a dinner party??? why??!!! what skill was i missing?

you know what i NEVER did? not once and i realized that was my first mistake....
I NEVER READ A RECIPE ON IT!!! oh my goodness.

so i read a bunch of recipes, changed a few things up - cause that's what i do {my husband doesn't call me sally under his breath for nothing...} - et voila! perfect greek salad.
phew - i'm glad that's taken care of. check!

then i went ahead and added pasta and roasted prawns....just cause, you know, it had to be done.
c'mon - you knew that!

jen's perfect greek salad with pasta and roasted prawns.
one of the first times i served this i got an "you MADE this dressing??!!" out of my sister-in-law, i think that says it all right there.

2 pints cheery or grape tomatoes - sliced in half.
2 red peppers, cut into chunks.
2 yellow peppers, cut into chunks.
1 long english cucumber cut in half lengthwise and the seeds scraped out and then sliced in 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices.
1/2 red onion, sliced thin they quartered.
1 cup of kalamata olives, preferably pitted but don't have to be.
cubed feta cheese - as much as you want!

pasta - optional - i use the rotini but you could use any shape you want - farfalle, penne, ??? i can't remember all the names! ha! i usually make about a pound of dry then add as much or as little as i want when it's all cooked.

3 cloves or garlic, minced - i like a lot of garlic, you can tame it back to two cloves but i found one is definitely not enough.
1 tsp of dijon mustard
1 tsp of dry oregano - smoosh it in your hands on it's way to the bowl to help release it's oil and flavours.
1/2 tsp of kosher salt.
start with 1/2 tsp of ground black pepper - go from there. i use about 12 grinds.
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar

roasted prawns:
1/2 to one pound of prawns - or really as much as you like! but you want to make sure they lay in one layer in the pan so you may have to do two batches.
olive oil
minced garlic
chopped parsley - if you have it! no big deal if you don't.
salt {optional}
cast iron skillet.

here we go:
first stack your salad. start with one vegetable and work your way through adding the feta last to your dish. now make your dressing: add the garlic, mustard and oregano to your bowl. add in your vinegar then slowly, while whisking, add you olive oil - this is called emulsifying. pretty fancy eh? yeah i know some stuff. add your salt and pepper, wait a few minutes, dip a piece of lettuce or pepper or cucumber in there to taste it - that's a good tip i picked up - and re-season if you have to.

now add this to your salad, toss and chill for about one hour before serving so the flavors come together.
now make your pasta. i use the rotini usually. cook it according to the box instructions. cool it to just warm - not hot! it will take all your dressing then - and add it to your salad while it's in the chilling stage or really whenever, but for best results you just want to make sure your pasta is a little warm and not completely cold...but it can be cold if life works out that way.

now for the prawns - this is to be done while plating. they get tossed right on top of the salad on the plate/bowl.
shell your prawns and place them in a bowl. top them generously with olive oil, minced garlic, chopped parsley and salt and pepper. toss together and let sit.
turn you oven to 400 degrees. spray your pan with pam and once it's heated place your pan inside for 10 minutes. after 10 minutes remove from oven and add your prawns to pan- making sure they are in one layer on the pan - place pan back in oven and bake for 5 minutes. remove and spoon prawns directly on to salads.
and don't forget: take all the praise! you made this...you deserve it.


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