Having married into a Greek family occasionally presents me with interesting food discoveries. For instance, My Big Fat Greek Wedding is pretty accurate in that whole roasting a lamb on a spit in the yard thing- except it’s usually done in the backyard, not the front yard as the move depicts. Alex takes roasting a leg of lamb at Easter incredibly seriously and I dare not offer to help or tell him how to do it. It’s his thing as if he knows how to do it through some genetic code.
Something I’ve learned recently is that I’ve been lied to about Greek salads. I’ve come to expect a bed of lettuce sprinkled with cucumber, kalamatas, onion and tomatoes along with some feta. This isn’t so, my friends. We’ve been lied to. My father-in-law has confirmed that real Greek salads have no lettuce. That’s right, it’s just a bowl full of the good stuff topped with a light dressing. This was a game changer for me. After all, the lettuce is the least exciting part of any salad. I love some crisp romaine as much as the next person, but the vegetables are really the highlights.
This salad is a bowl full of colorful, cubed fresh vegetables with chunks of salty feta. I use a block of fresh feta as opposed to crumbles so that the cheese is the same size as the rest of the components in the salad. I didn’t toss the feta with everything else before serving to avoid it crumbling and dulling the bright colors of the vegetables. The lemon juice in the dressing adds a necessary bright, acidic flavor. I could eat this all day and, quite honestly, some friends and I ate the whole salad in one sitting. I can’t wait to eat it again.
makes 6 servings
1 hothouse (english) cucumber, quartered and cut into 3/4 inch chunks
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
1/2 cup red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 pound block of feta cheese
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, grated or finely minced
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
In a large salad bowl, toss together the cucumber, olives, tomatoes and the red onion. Cut the feta into 1/2″ cubes and place them on top of the salad. Do not toss to combine it or the feta will crumble apart. In a small bowl, combine the dressing ingredients and whisk together to combine. Drizzle the dressing over the salad just before serving.