Ralph and I spent our holiday last summer in Greece. Close friends of ours have been making a pilgrimage to several of the Greek islands for years and invited us to tag along. It was magical. There were times when I felt like we were in the middle of a National Geographic photo shoot. Deserted beaches at the bottom of cliff faces, crystal clear waters and breath-taking sunsets. I loved the island’s architecture and color palette. Everything designed to take you to a very calm and serene place. And then there were the tavernas! No matter how remote a beach location we chose, we could count on finding a lovely taverna offering a full menu over looking the sea. Every menu boasted fresh grilled fish and octopus, spit roasted meats and poultry, fresh vegetables,local olives, artisan breads and cheese and of course CAR-POO-ZEE [our friends had a great time teaching us Greek with phonetics] watermelon! The first thing I ordered when we arrived was Greek salad…when in Greece!. I love the perfect balance of texture and taste…the crunchiness of the vegetables counteres the lusciousness of the feta and the sour of the red wine vinegar to the rich subtlness of the extra virgin olive oil.
The only secret to a great Greek salad is using perfect ingredients. Skimping on any thing will throw off the balance.
count on 1 1/2 of the most delicious tomatoes that you can find per person, cut into wedges
1/4 English cuke per person, peeled and cut into chunks
1/4 green bell pepper per person, seeded and sliced into strips
1/4 red onion per person, peeled and sliced
Kalamata olives to taste, I don’t pit my olives but I make sure everyone is mindful of the pits
3 ounces best quality feta available per person, left in whole slices
Place the vegetables and olives in a large mixing bowl
Whisk together – per person
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano Greek if you can find it!
1/4 teaspoon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Pour vinaigrette over vegetables and olives and let it sit for 10 minutes
Divide between plates…top with feta…drizzle with a little more extra virgin olive oil and garnish with a sprinkle more of dried oregano
This recipe can be adapted for as many people as you are feeding.