The Greek salad is well known around the world. In Greece we call it choriatiki salata meaning village (rustic) salad. It is mainly eaten in the summertime and it can be a side dish or a light meal.
When I was in the USA I couldn't find a restaurant (Greek one or not) that wouldn't add lettuce to it. !!!! Lettuce? That was almost infuriating to me. Lettuce has no business in the Greek salad. Let me say that again: Lettuce has no business in the Greek salad! If I wanted a lettuce salad I would have asked for a lettuce salad. Restaurants would load the plate with lettuce (cheap!) and I was treasure hunting for the tomatoes and cucumbers and green peppers (expensive!) which are the main ingredients!
GREEK SALAD WITH LETTUCE IS NOT A GREEK SALAD!!!
You can call it a variation of Greek salad, I'll accept that. And that's what it is. Oh! Don't let me forget about the dressing! There isn't a dressing that comes out of a bottle for the Greek salad. It's olive oil and red wine vinegar that are poured over the salad separately!
Lately you can find this variation of Greek salad in Greece too, but only at restaurants that cater to tourists. Even there, do ask for the real one with no lettuce! Say cho-ria-ti-ki !
I will give you the recipe for the REAL Greek salad.
- 2-3 ripe tomatoes cut into wedges (I prefer small wedges)
- one red onion sliced into thin (half) rings
- 1 crisp cucumber sliced into half-moons (whether or not you peel the cucumber is a personal choice)
- 1 green pepper - julienned
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon of ground black pepper
- 1/3 teaspoon or less (according to taste) salt
- 4 oz (120 g) feta cheese crumbled
- 1 dozen Greek olives (f.e.Kalamata olives, plump black ones or even green)
- good quality olive oil (maybe virgin but avoid the extra virgin, it lacks in rich taste)
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar (according to personal taste)
After cutting the tomatoes (some peel the tomatoes if the skins are tough; it's a personal call) and peppers and slicing the cucumber and onion, place the salad ingredients with the olives in a large salad bowl. Add salt, pepper and oregano. Pour over the salad the vinegar and the olive oil and toss gently to combine. In the end, add the crumbled feta cheese.
(Note: Toss in a few capers if you like them!)
That' s the REAL Greek salad. Now you know!
Try it and let me know if you liked it! I'd love to hear what you thought of it!
Some photos are courtesy of Google images