Friday, January 4, 2008

Greek Salad - With Recipe

Since you've requested them,
I'll provide a few recipes this year.

And, here's the first.
The Greek Salad.

Now, this one is a fav of mine for a few reasons.
The color. I mean just LOOK at those greens, and reds, and purples.
The feta. Oh, the feta.
The veggie crunch.

No guilt.
"I'm eating healthy!

Here's the way I make my salad.
Starting with Dana's Tips.
The flavor's in the details...

(Wait, does that have an E?
Thanks to Dan Quayle, I am insecure every time I spell out potato or tomato.)

Tomatoes, continued.
I don't put them in direct sunlight.
And, I don't refrigerate them.
Because cold turns off some of the flavor in the tomato.

Here, I'll let Alton Brown explain,
from his Good Eats episode, Tomato Envy:
Oh, and never put them in the refrigerator, okay?
If they drop below 50 degrees a flavor compound
called (Z)-3-dexenal is just going to flip itself
off like a chemical switch ... permanently.

Tomatoes, the prologue.
Beefeaters have lots of liquid.
Cherry can be tart.
Grapes can be...expensive.
I usually go with plum.
Cherry, grapes, plums... we ARE still talking about tomatoes, right?


I don't refrigerate those either.
No spiffy quote.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Can we please stop calling it EVOO?
If you are going to be eating it straight, like in this dressing application, be sure it's fresh, a pretty light green, and smells, well, to me it smells and tastes a bit fruity. Expiration? Yep, it expires. In Italy, the expiration date is two years after the production date. So, if you only see a production date, you do the math. Many people will replace their oil if not used within a year.

(If it smells like nothing, and tastes bland, it won't make for a good dressing. Maybe you can use it as a lubricant for your bike chain. Maybe not.)

I lived 2 miles from a Greek Deli all of my life and never knew it until I looked online at Seriously. Wonderful imported groceries, cheese, and olives. Look under Greek or Mediterranean - it's amazing what cute little stores are out there.

(Mine has a sweet lady named Katherina who gives advice on life. Your mileage may vary.)

Oh, feta, yeah, I buy domestic for the salad.
It's what people are used to eating. Not too strong, keeps a good dice. Oh, and you can see from the photo that I use a lot. You could get away with using half the amount I use. For my Greek Lamb-burgers, I prefer imported. Oh, I should blog those, too...

Kalamata Olives
Are NOT black olives.
These are strong, briny, purple orbs of love.
They have pits.
Warn about the pits as necessary.
Unless you are providing dental insurance with dessert.

Oregano, dried.
If it hasn't been replaced in two years, now's the time.
If it smells like sawdust, adding more will just increase that sawdusty flavor. Not-Good-Eats.
You're taste buds will thank you.

Garlic, fresh.
Refrigeration - bad.
And, the bulb should be heavy.
If it's light, it's not fresh.

If there is a little green sprout in the middle of the clove (I've never looked - are those mono or di-cotyledons?), remove the green. It's bitter. But, really, you should just toss that and buy some fresh garlic. Once the clove has started growing the sprout, the goodness it spent.

Red onion
Refrigeration - just say no.
Taste them, since some are stronger than others.
Reduce, if necessary.

OK, now the recipe.

Greek Salad.
Serves 4

6 plum tomatoes, diced large
1/2 cucumber, sliced in thin half moons
1/2 green pepper, diced small
1/4 red onion, sliced thinly
8 oz. feta cheese, cut in large cubes
16 olives, vary according to taste

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon table or sea salt
1 clove garlic, minced.
1 and 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, fresh ground

Place all the cut veggies into a shallow bowl, I highly recommend red. It really makes the tomatoes - pop - with color. For me, half of cooking is being amazed at the colors and aromas.
Ohh, naked salad!
Gimme me a second to get it dressed...
And, find the cheese.

Put the dressing ingredients in a snap top container and shake them to combine. Vigorously. Think of it as exercise.

Add the cheese to the salad and pour the dressing over the top right before you serve.

Notice there is no vinegar in the dressing.
Nope, not a mistake.

Depending on the flavor of your olive oil and your tastes, you might want to add a bit of red wine vinegar. I don't. I might add a bit more salt, or garlic, or lemon - play a bit - but usually I stick with the ingredients listed above. If I have done my research well, the lemon and oil dressing is called Latholemono, and makes for a nice marinade on fish or chicken, too boot.

Here's our salad, properly dressed.
Quite a looker, isn't she?

Linking up to:
Easy Natural Food's Summer Salad Days

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Anonymous said...

Thanks for the recipe Dana. I am a big fan of Greek salad. I will be giving this one a try!

Lisa (ghenne)

STARDUST said...

Dana hi! Just came across your lovely blog and I saw the two posts with the Greek recipes. I'm a Greek myself living in Greece all my life, so I was super excited! But, I have to mention something here... we never ever put garlic or lemon or pepper in the salad. In fact we don't make a dressing. We just pour the olive oil on top of the tomatoes and cucumber, after we have added some salt and oregano. Well, I'm very glad I found you and we'll stay in touch from now on! Have a nice weekend!
Love, Olga (your newest follower!)

Dana @ Cooking At Cafe D said...

Hi Olga!
Thanks for commenting.
I think I should probably get some Greek olive oil - bet that would give more flavor. Thank you sharing. I bet you make a wonderful salad. I'm heading off to check out your blog now :)
~ Dana

Debbie @ Easy Natural Food said...

I just love Greek Salad, and kalmata olives are my all time favorite! Thanks for sharing this with Summer Salad Sundays, look forward to seeing you again soon!

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