Back in the day, I went to Greece and fell in love… madly, deeply in love… with a salad. The original Greek salad. Greek salad made by Greeks was a revelation to me. The simplicity befuddled me. See, growing up in suburban Detroit, Greek salads from the Coney Island were loaded with the dreaded pickled beet. Ick, ugh, poo!
But, Greek salads are really just a handful of ingredients (no lettuce!) with a perfectly tart and tangy dressing. And, I’ve talked about Greek salads here before.
Why delve into them again? Some people (who shall remain nameless) believe a salad needs to have lettuce. Seriously? Lettuce. I found a Greek salad with lettuce in Cook’s Encyclopedia of 30-Minute Cooking. Those of you up on your Greek history will find it hysterical that it’s called Turkish Salad (can’t these guys just get along already? Don’t even get me started on the differences between Greek and Turkish coffees. Whoa, Nelly.)
- 1 romaine lettuce heart
- 1 green bell pepper
- 1 red bell pepper
- ½ cucumber
- 4 tomatoes
- 1 red onion
- 8 oz feta cheese, crumbled
- Black olives, to garnish
For the dressing:
- 3 T olive oil
- 3 T lemon juice
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1 T chopped fresh parsley
- 1 T chopped fresh mint
- Salt and ground black pepper
Chop the lettuce into bite-size pieces. Seed the peppers, remove the cores, and cut the flesh into thin strips. Chop the cucumber and slice and chop the tomatoes. (Besides the addition of lettuce, this is a main difference between the Greek and Turkish versions. Greek salads have tomato wedges and cucumber discs.) Cut the onion in half, then slice finely.
Place the chopped lettuce, peppers, cucumber, tomatoes, and onion in a large bowl. Sprinkle with feta over the top and toss lightly.
Make the dressing: Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic in a small bowl. Stir in the chopped fresh parsley and mint and season with salt and ground black pepper to taste.
Pour the dressing over the salad, toss lightly and serve at once, garnished with a handful of black olives.
Tastes remarkably like the Greek salad but with more leafy bits. Obviously, this recipe needs to be made with the really good vegetables. But, because they are chopped, if your tomatoes are a bit mealy, then this recipe is a touch more forgiving.
And, I suppose I could get used to eating a Greek salad with lettuce. I just need to draw the line at beets.