GINNA PARSONS: Delicious salad born in spite of broken blender

By Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal

I was at the Lee County Library on Friday morning, doing some research on the Highland Circle neighborhood in Tupelo, when I ran into Jim High.
My husband and I met Jim right after we moved to Tupelo. He was part of a supper club we were invited to join, and we often spent happy evenings around the dining room table at his big old house on Jefferson Street.
Jim said he had a fine recipe he wanted to share with me but the story behind it was even better. He then proceeded to regale me with the tale of the Broken Blender Pickwick Salad.
It seems that a few weekends ago, Jim invited his friend Tracy Proctor to his cabin at Pickwick. Tracy, as many of you know, is a renowned floral designer in Tupelo and an all-around good egg.
For the gathering, Tracy had planned to make hummus – a dip made from mashed chickpeas, lemon juice, garlic, tahini paste and olive oil. It’s usually served with pita chips, but Tracy had purchased some fresh vegetables to use as dippers.
Once at the cabin, Tracy began looking for a food processor to make his dip. Jim offered that he didn’t have a food processor, but he did have a blender, which he promptly produced.
Only the blender was broken.
By this time, Tracy had already begun opening cans and at this point, he had to make something. So he decided he’d just throw the ingredients he’d purchased together for a Mediterranean-like salad.
Jim and Tracy both swear that this salad is a keeper. In fact, before Tracy left the kitchen that evening, Jim had him write down exactly how he had prepared, what will from here on be known as, the Broken Blender Pickwick Salad.

Broken Blender Pickwick Salad
2 cans chickpeas, drained
2 fresh tomatoes, diced
1 can sliced black olives, drained
1 zucchini, sliced
1 to 2 yellow squash, sliced
1 jar marinated artichoke hearts
2 garlic cloves, minced
Juice of 2 lemons
Olive oil to taste
1 heaping tablespoon mayonnaise

In a large serving bowl, combine chickpeas, tomatoes, olives, zucchini, squash, artichoke hearts and garlic. Sprinkle with lemon juice and add enough olive oil to keep salad moist. If needed to hold everything together, add mayonnaise and toss again.
Note: To make this salad stretch, you could serve it tossed with cooked pasta, such as elbow, bowtie or penne.

Ginna Parsons is the Daily Journal’s food/home/garden editor.