Toasted hominy and avocado salad

Toasted hominy salad

It seems to me that we usually have a string of days in June that are perfect. The air is creamy and cool and full of sweet wildflower smells and sharp lemony grassy ferny smells. It’s a little warm in the afternoon, maybe, but in the morning and evening you want to sit and bathe in the sweet air. You want to be aware of how lovely the air is at this moment, because it doesn’t happen very often. It’s so easy to notice when it’s freezing, or broiling, or insufferably humid. But this unsurpassable perfection, this ultimate air, as my boys would say, is easy to overlook. For some reason, when the air is like this, it makes me think about flying. I think about flying a lot, actually. Not with my rational brain (precious little of that!) but in dreams, and now and then through the day. We went on a bike ride this morning, and that feels like flying. We ride on a towpath between the canal and the river. The towpath is raised considerably above the water on either side, in most places, so as you ride birds will swoop along next to you, and you’ll feel like you’re flying with them. This morning we saw a turtle in the glowing brown water – head out, rough, wrinkled legs swirling in the water. It looked like a remarkably pleasant thing to do. That’s what this air feels like! Sometimes, as I’m walking, I’ll sense the weight of the air on my arms, and I’ll swoosh them up slightly, feeling the air move all around them, and I almost feel as though I very nearly know what it might be like to take off in flight. I told David this and he asked if I’d been eating any of the unidentified herbs in the garden. Heh heh. Try it! Here’s a diagram…

1. stand with your arms at your sides, relaxed.
2. Press your hands backwards sllighty – maybe a foot – with a slightly curved motion
3. Swoop them slowly forward – not too far, just like a dog begging, maybe. It’s all about the swoop, I think.

Anyway – you don’t want to be inside too long cooking on a day like this, so you want to make a quick and delicious and substantial salad, such as this one. A perfectly ripe avocado is a thing of wonder, too. In this dish, we find such an avocado combined with tomatoes, cilantro, basil, salad burnet (which tastes like cucumbers – fresh!), hominy that’s been toasted with sage and oregano, and a chipotle balsamic sort of dressing. Toasted hominy is nice – it doesn’t get puffy or crispy, but it crackles and pops while it cooks. The warmth of it makes the tomatoes and olive oil lovely and fragrant and just a little soft. We ate this with basmati rice, fresh farm lettuce, and homemade tortilla chips (that’s a flour tortilla sliced in triangles and lightly fried in olive oil). But you could easily eat it with warm soft tortillas.

Here’s Flying Birds by RZA. It sounds like wings pulling through the weight of the air!

1 can (15 oz) hominy, rinsed and well drained
2 T olive oil
1 t sage
1 t oregano
1 clove garlic
4 scallions, chopped – white parts mostly
2 medium-sized tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and roughly chopped
1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar (optional)
small handful of fresh cilantro
small handful of fresh basil
small handful of salad burnet (if you have it! if not, leave it out, or add a cucumber!)
salt and plenty of black pepper

Dressing
2 T olive oil
2 t balsamic
2 t honey (or to taste)
1/4 t chipotle purée, or to taste.

Mix the hominy with the olive oil, sage and oregano, spread it on a baking tray, and stick it in the toaster oven, if you have it, or a regular oven at about 400. Slice the skin of the garlic clove, and put it on the baking tray. Toast/roast till the hominy is warm and sizzly and poppy – 15 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium-sized bowl combine everything else except the avocado. Pour the dressing over and mix well. Stir in the warm hominy. Let it sit a minute or two, and then gently mix in the avocado. Season well with salt and pepper.

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One thought on “Toasted hominy and avocado salad

  1. Pingback: Crispy cornmeal crusted eggplant and chickpea ratatouille | Out of the Ordinary

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