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It’s Holy Week, and you know what that means: it’s Greek Salad time!
Okay, so Greek Salad has absolutely nothing to do with Holy Week. I just happen to have made a Greek salad Saturday. I thought of it, I wanted it, so I made it. And I wanted to share it with you today.
Here’s what I like in a Greek salad:
Big chunks of tomatoes and cucumbers, not a safe and neat little dice
Lettuce as a base; many Greek salads (and, probably, authentic Green salads) do not include lettuce
A tiny bit of sweetness to the oil-vinegar dressing; too strong a vinegar bite makes me angry. And you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.
A whole lot of feta cheese. If you’re going to use feta…use feta!
Feta for president.
Here’s how I made this ultra simple and highly scrumptious lunch:
Lop the bottom off of a head of Romaine lettuce.
Then make one-inch slices up the head of lettuce, stopping an inch or two away from the end (discard the bruised and beaten part.)
After that, give it a rough chop and throw it into a large bowl.
Next, cut a few ripe tomatoes into six wedges: turn the tomato upside down, then cut a plus-sign, followed by an “X”.
Cut each wedge in half…
Then throw the chunks into the bowl.
Cut a red onion in half from root to tip…
Slice up half of it very thinly. Thin, because raw red onion is strong, strong, strong…unless you’re my darling mother-in-law, who could eat a whole raw onion every day of her life and be a happy woman.
Throw the onions into the bowl. Add as many or as few as you’d like.
Next, peel a cucumber with a vegetable peeler, being very careful not to slice of your fingernail like some numskull around here did recently.
It’s growing back. With the help of family, friends, and dead skin cells, it’s slowly and surely growing back.
Cut the cucumber in half…
Cut each half into four long wedges…
And throw them into the bowl with the rest of the wonderfulness.
Note: You could certainly seed the cucumbers if the seeds bother you: just halve each half and run a spoon down the center to scrape them out. I like to leave it all intact, though. Less work, of course, but I find the texture of the seeds kind of nice.
It’s the kind of gal I am.
Oh, how I hate pitting olives myself.
Oh, how I love buying them already pitted.
Then cut them in half lengthwise…
Then toss ‘em into the bowl.
Next comes some fresh parsley. Just give it a rough/quick chop.
Finally: a pile of feta. I pile half in a this stage, saving the other half for the very end.
And there we have it: lettuce (buried), tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, olives, parsley, and feta. Sprinkle all of this with salt and a little freshly ground black pepper, then make the dressing.
A little olive oil, a little red wine vinegar…
And a little sugar—again, to offset that whangy-tangy vinegar bite that, if too strong, reminds me of bad deli coleslaw.
One clove of garlic, finely chopped.
Give this a good whisk until it’s all combined.
Next–this is my favorite—finely chop a small handful of olives…
And use your freaky pinkish-white alien hand to add them to the dressing. Stir to combine.
Finally, pour the dressing over the salad!
Good. See the little bits of olive? They’ll appear here and there in various bites of your salad and make you feel happy inside.
Use your (very clean) hands to toss the salad. This really winds up being the perfect amount of dressing for the ingredients. I love it when the world makes sense. Then, just for kicks: after it’s all tossed together, squeeze half a lemon over the salad and toss it one more time.
Sprinkle half of the remaining feta over the salad (so, 1/4 of the original quantity of feta.) See, the first feta we added really became part of things when we tossed the salad: it’s creamy and mushy now. Adding this feta will make for some more intact chunks when we serve the salad (and I’ll show you what we do with the remaining 1/4.)
Heap it up on a plate.
Then sprinkle on the rest of the feta over the individual portions. Try not to be impressed by my manicure.
I love Greek salad. And if you have a good bakery in your area and can score a loaf of crusty bread, a hunk of the stuff would be divine here. Leave this salad as is, or add marinated, grilled chicken if you need a little more animal protein in your life.
Oh, and here’s something you can do with a big salad like this, whether it’s Greek or Caesar or chopped. Pile it onto a good tortilla or other flatbread. Add strips of chicken, beef, or lamb if you have it.
Wrap. Scarf. Enjoy.
(I like to come up with all sorts of alternatives for getting food into my mouth.)
Here’s the printable recipe: