Maricopa chef Mark Gentilella shares a recipe for shepherd's salad. Photos by Raquel Hendrickson

One of the greatest aspects of farm-to-table food is even the simplest dish, when using the freshest ingredients combined with the right accompaniments, can become a most delicious, satisfying experience. This recipe for Shepherd’s salad, a Turkish take on bruschetta, uses veggies grown in Maricopa’s community garden along with a few quality store bought ingredients. It is found on dining tables throughout the Mediterranean as part of the Mezze, a selection of little plates served before the main course. Bursting with flavor and packed with a wonderful contrast of temperatures and textures, this healthy, light summer dish begs to be shared with friends.

1 large cucumber, peeled (small dice)
4 vine ripe tomatoes or equivalent (small dice)
1/4 cup red onion (small dice)
1/4 cup parsley (chopped)
Juice of half a lemon (watch those seeds)
1/2 cup your favorite hummus (homemade or store bought)
1 oz. quality extra virgin olive oil
Fresh pita or beautiful, crusty bread
2 finger pinch plus a little extra kosher or sea salt
Fresh-ground pepper

Preheat your grill (charcoal or Foreman) or broiler

Combine the cucs, tomatoes, onion and parsley in a large bowl and toss gently. Sprinkle in salt and pepper to taste (2-3 turns of the pepper grinder should do it) and add lemon juice. Gently mix well and let chill in the fridge.

Lightly brush pita (or sliced bread) with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt. Quickly grill/broil until LIGHTLY charred on edges but still wonderfully soft.

Cut pita into triangles (like a pizza), smear with hummus and top with a generous dollop of Shepherd’s salad.

Enjoy this dish with a variety of additions such as olives, feta cheese and roasted or pickled peppers.

About the Chef
Name: Mark Gentilella
Family: Awesome wife, two great kids, one cranky cat
Occupation: My daughter calls me a cooker!
Origins: New Jersey
Why this recipe: I love variety in a meal, and this is versatile, fresh and oooooh so yummy
Favorite chef: All the grandmas in my life

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