Recipe from The Art of Simple Food
As a savvy Facebook follower pointed out, my last recipe for Spanish Basque tossed salad is quite like Greek salad. Unlike Basque salads, whose ingredients vary quite a bit, Greek salads typically contain the same ingredients: tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, black olives, and feta cheese, topped with a light vinaigrette dressing. Classic recipes call for classic sources, like The Art of Simple Food by longtime culinary wizard and seasonal chef Alice Waters, of Chez Panisse (AKA Alice’s Restaurant).
|Greek Oregano is Traditional|
|Salad Ready to Assemble|
Don’t substitute the feta cheese or Greek olives. Goat cheese and generic black olives will not balance with the dressing and will taste decidedly un-Greek. I buy the feta in a chunk and cut it up into cubes, but you could choose pre-crumbled feta instead. I also substituted water for part of the olive oil in the dressing, as usual, to save calories and costs. Use the full amount of oil for more authenticity.
2 small ripe tomatoes
1 medium cucumber
½ small red onion or 5 green onions
1 small sweet red pepper
Romaine, 5 large leaves (optional)
1/3 cup Kalamata olives
4 oz. chunk feta cheese
Sprinkle of salt
2 tsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. lemon juice (optional)
2 tsp. fresh oregano, chopped
1/8 tsp. salt
Fresh-ground black pepper
6 tbsp. olive oil (or substitute up to 2 tbsp. water for some oil)
Lemon wedges (optional)
Prepare vegetables: Cut tomatoes into wedges (~1.25 cups). Peel cucumber. Remove cucumber seeds by scraping with spoon and blot insides dry. Cut in half or quarters lengthwise and slice into ½ - ¾ inch chunks (~1.5+ cups). Peel onions and slice thinly (~.5 cup). Cut red pepper in half and remove core. Slice thinly (~.5 cup). Wash and dry romaine leaves and spread out on serving platter.
Prepare garnishes: Rinse olives and pit if desired. Drain, or blot off water. Break up or cut feta cheese into small pieces (unless you’re feta is pre-crumbled).
Season tomatoes: Salt tomatoes lightly and toss. Allow to sit while you prepare the dressing.
Make the dressing: Stir together red wine vinegar, lemon juice, and chopped oregano (there will not be much liquid). Add the water if you are substituting it for 2 tbsp. of the oil. Stir in salt and about 10 grinds of black pepper.
Whisk in olive oil until smooth and well blended (use 4 tbsp. if you substituted 2 tbsp. of water).
Assemble salad: Season cucumbers and onion with a sprinkling of salt, and toss to blend. Taste tomatoes and season again with salt if needed. Toss together tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and red peppers.
Add about ¾ of the vinaigrette to the veggies and toss to coat evenly. Let sit for a couple of minutes for flavors to blend.
Toss again and taste. Add more vinegar (I added another teaspoon) or salt if needed.
Just before serving, toss salad again. Remove veggies from mixing bowl and pile on top of romaine leaves. Top with feta cheese and Kalamata olives. Spoon remaining vinaigrette over the top and serve immediately.
|Second Helping: Required or Desired?|