Is a Greek salad so ubiquitous that you/we don’t need a recipe? Maybe so since Greek salad to me means lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, kalamata olives and a lemon juice-heavy dressing. Oh, feta cheese too. And oregano for sure! I added some left over cold skirt steak.
Last summer we visited with our friends Sue & Lynn, who live near Denver. Out on Sue’s coffee table was a very pretty new cookbook I leafed through, then decided I really needed to have, Festival of Greek Flavors; A Mediterranean Culinary Adventure. Since I didn’t have any Greek cookbooks, I added it onto my Amazon wish list, and got it as a gift for Christmas! The book is a compilation of recipes by a group of Denver women, all members of a Greek Orthodox church, and part of a group called Ladies Philoptochos Society. It’s a very pretty hardcover cookbook – color pictures accompany most of the recipes, but not all. Some recipes come with interesting stories about the recipe origin, too. I need to put little bookmarks or flags in the book on recipes I’d like to try.
Since Christmas I’ve looked at it a couple of times, considering a recipe I’d try, but it wasn’t the right fit for whatever I was planning. But when I got the hankering for a Greek salad, it was the first place I looked.
As I read the ingredients, I had tomatoes (check), cucumber (check), Feta (check), peppers (check), red onion (check), Kalamata (check), and fresh basil (check). I wanted to make this a green salad type, so I added lettuce, although it’s not in the original recipe. It also called for peperoncini too. I didn’t have any, and really didn’t want to buy a whole bottle, so that one element was omitted. I had a fresh lemon, oil, garlic, etc. to make the dressing.
We were in a hurry that night so I had to throw it together at the last minute, but it worked. The dressing was the only thing that didn’t taste quite right – I had to add more lemon juice, and I added some wine vinegar as well. The dressing for a Greek salad needs to be tart – the recipe in the cookbook was too oil-heavy. So I changed the recipe below for that. Maybe it’s a typo. Don’t know.
What I liked: just the combo of flavors – there’s something about Greek salad – the word that comes to mind is bright and clean. I made it with some lovely grilled red and orange bell peppers I had and didn’t add fresh peppers. And I also added the thin slices of skirt steak, but that’s not a necessity. It’s the salad that it’s all about.
What I didn’t like: once I fixed the dressing, it was great. Loved the fresh flavors.
MasterCook 5+ import file – right click to save file, run MC, then File|Import
Greek Village Salad
Recipe By: Adapted from Festival of Greek Flavors
Serving Size: 4
NOTES: I don’t love the harsh flavor of raw onion, so I always soak the onion in water with a little splash of vinegar added, for about 30 minutes. It mellows the onion completely. I also added slices of some left over steak I had on hand – you could add cooked chicken also.
1 whole garlic clove
1 1/2 cups cucumber — European style (seedless), cut in coins or smaller
2 large tomatoes — sliced
2/3 cup bell pepper — [I used a grilled pepper, the recipe uses raw]
1/2 cup red onion — thinly sliced
4 cups Romaine lettuce — chopped [not in the original recipe]
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon zest
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (or more if desired)
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic — minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano — crushed between your palms
1/4 cup fresh basil — cut in thin sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
12 kalamata olives
4 whole pepperoncini pepper — [optional]
4 ounces Feta cheese — crumbled or cubed
1 teaspoon dried oregano — sprinkled on top
1. SALAD: Rub the salad bowl with the cut garlic clove and discard. Place cucumber, tomatoes, bell peppers, onions and lettuce in bowl.
2. DRESSING: In a glass jar combine the dressing ingredients and shake. You can make this a few hours ahead and let sit at room temp.
3. Add dressing to salad and toss well. Taste for seasonings. Garnish with olives, pepperoncini (if using), Feta and dried oregano.
Per Serving: 396 Calories; 37g Fat (79.9% calories from fat); 6g Protein; 14g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 25mg Cholesterol; 508mg Sodium.