It certainly is the time of year when I get fed up with being remotely seasonal in my food purchases. Cabbage is a wonderful comfort and succor in late winter, but it is not enough. I want something BRIGHT and FRESH and MADE OF RAW VEGETABLES, goddammit.
This chopped salad tastes just dandy with out-of-season vegetables. Of course those same vegetables are irresponsibly shipped from far away, and cost a premium, to boot. If you live somewhere where they are in season, or if you can wait until their season arrives, more power to you. But right now I can't bear it, and so here we are.
Another nice feature of this kind of salad is that you can make it in quantity and keep it in the refrigerator, having a scoop here and there over the next few days at a moment's notice. The vegetables will get lightly pickled in the interim, but if anything that just makes them taste better.
1/4 c. sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
A sprinkling of sugar and fat pinch of salt
About a cup of red onion, cut into 1/2" dice
3 or more sweet bell peppers -- red, yellow, orange -- cored and cut into 1/2" dice
3 small, thin-skinned cucumbers, cut into 1/2" dice
About a quarter pound of fresh mozzarella or firm feta cheese (perlini in the picture)
1/3 c. pitted olives -- something large and gentle, kalamata or big tender green ones
1/4 c. good olive oil
More salt and pepper to taste
Put the onion in a small bowl with the vinegar, sugar, and pinch of salt while you prepare the other ingredients.
Core and seed the bell peppers and chop them. Chop the cucumbers. (If you use one large cucumber instead of the small ones, core it first.) Crumble or tear up the cheese. Roughly chop the olives. Put all of these in a bowl together. Add the onion/vinegar mixture and olive oil. Toss. Salt and pepper to taste.