Last weekend I was invited to a poolside birthday party for a lovely girl who was turning 12 years old. I asked what I could bring, suggesting a salad to go along with the hamburgers and hot dogs on the menu. Julie brightened up and volunteered: My favorite is Greek Salad.
So, Greek Salad it was.
With ripe tomatoes and cucumbers hitting supermarkets just about now, Greek Salad was a good choice for a crowd. It always holds well, and has a fresh taste. Known in Greece mainly as country salad, or horiatiki, the Greek Salad we know here is basically a combination of tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, feta cheese, and Kalamata olives, all dressed up with an olive oil and vinegar blend.
I took a few liberties with my Greek Salad, given the fact that in Greece one would never have salad greens in the mix, but I needed to stretch a bit, so this recipe may not be as authentic as a Greek Greek Salad, if you get what I mean:
Matilda’s EZ But Excellent Greek Salad
1 package American style salad greens
1-1/2 large green cucumbers, peeled and cut into half moons
4 ripe large Roma tomatoes
1 pound Feta cheese
½ green bell pepper
1 small red onion
I had a 4″ deep 9″ x 12″ disposable aluminum pan, so I emptied about half the package of salad greens into the bottom of the pan. Then I washed, peeled and cut the cucumbers lengthwise to create two horizontal halves. These I cut into chunky half-moon slices between ¼ inch and ½ inch thick. I arranged these over the Greek Salad greens.
Next I cut the ripe tomatoes into chunky slices and arranged these over the cucumbers. Try to evenly balance the tomatoes and cucumbers in the Greek Salad. Add more tomato, if needed.
Then cut the Feta into small, square cubes and sprinkle them over the tomatoes. (You do not have to use the whole pound, depending on your taste for cheese.) Next, I diced half of a green bell pepper into rough chunks, and layered it over the cheese. Then I sliced very thin red onion slices and scattered the raw onion ringlets all over the Greek Salad.
The final touch to any Greek Salad is to add as many Kalamata olives as you think people can stand. (I remove the olive pits quickly with a sharp knife, and sometimes chop the olives for greater flavor saturation.) There is no substitute for the taste of Kalamata’s, so try to use them instead of black or green olives, if possible.
Instead of the oil and vinegar dressing usually added to Greek Salad, I cheated and bought a very nice light-style Greek Salad dressing with Feta cheese that proved to be quite delicious. The bottled dressing was added to the whole Greek Salad just before serving.
As I said, I took a few liberties with my version of Greek Salad, and I’m sure you can alter this recipe for your family cookbook to suit your own tastes. It is a good dish to bring to any birthday, graduation or Father’s Day bash and it is so easy to prepare. By the way, at the end of the pool party there was hardly any of my Greek Salad left in the pan, so I guess it passed muster.
(Sure hope Julie got some!)