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Mediterranean food is, hands down, my favorite in the whole wide world. There, I said it. If I am ever on death row, I might ask for a Greek Salad with a piece of baklava as my last meal! Don’t get me wrong – I love other ethnic foods too, but the fresh fruits, dried fruits, honey-based pastry, sharp cheeses, and citrus I discovered in Greece … it’s hard to find words.
This fall I visited Turkey and Greece, and in every Greek town I went searching for a Greek salad and Moussaka. Turns out it was hard to find Moussaka in most places, but I was able to score a good Greek salad most of the time.
I ate, I photographed, I deconstructed, I documented. And now I am an authority.
So of course I came home to Seattle and began experimenting like a crazy person. I think I made Greek salad seven days in a row – and that is on the conservative side. My husband, fortunately, likes the same foods as I do and didn’t complain. In fact, he noted when I needed more lemon, more salt, more pepper and the like.
Greek Salad My Way
Salad Dressing Ingredients
Makes enough for 2-4 large salads
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 clove minced garlic
- 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
This makes 2 very large salads, the kind I like
- ¼ cup slivered red onions: halve lengthwise, cut in half again and thinly slice, then separate into rings
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes sliced in half (or the same amount of other flavorful tomatoes, cut into cubes
- 1 cup English cucumber sliced in 1 inch pieces: do not peel but slice lengthwise and remove the seeds, then cut into ½ inch pieces
- ½ green pepper – seeds and pith removed, and cut into ¼ inch slivers
- 1 ½ cups fresh romaine lettuce, torn into 1-inch pieces
- ¼ cup pitted Greek olives, I had a combo of green and black. Cut into ⅓’s
- ⅓ cup fresh feta cheese, crumbed or cut into a rectangular slice if you have a big chunk
For the dressing, measure all ingredients and shake together. Add a touch of sugar if it is too sharp. Shake or whisk and let it stand for a few minutes. (This takes away the sharpness of the garlic).
Add the slivered red onions to about one tablespoon of the dressing and let them soak up the dressing for 10 minutes. This removes the bitterness of the raw onions, which is a win/win for me. At this point I put the soaked onions in the very bottom of my salad bowl so they don’t get the rest of the ingredients mushy.
I then layer the tomato, cucumber, pepper, and romaine, and top with the olives and feta. I put a damp towel on top and slide it into my refrigerator until I want to eat the salad, sometimes as long as 6-8 hours.
Right before serving, whisk the remaining dressing and add it a bit at a time until the salad is dressed to your liking. I always have leftover dressing, enough for at least another two salads.
Enjoy! Can’t wait to make this in the summer with garden fresh tomatoes. When I have it, I add some chopped mint and chopped basil or oregano too.