Before meeting the Perky Kebab I had never encountered a Greek salad. In fact, I didn’t even like feta back then (shock, horror, what did he see in me??). But a 3 week trip around the Greek islands back in 2005 (times were clearly tough as a student back then) opened my eyes to the wonders of the simple combination of fresh vegetables, feta, oregano, oil and vinegar. Since then it’s become one of my favourite meals and my go-to dish when I want something healthy and fresh but still filling and delicious.
Due to its simplicity and as with a lot of Mediterranean cooking, a Greek salad really relies on the quality of the ingredients you use. I’m talking seriously ripe, juicy, fragrant vine tomatoes; fresh, crunchy cucumber; Kalamata olives; good quality, peppery olive oil; and, most importantly, Greek feta cheese.
Include non-authentic feta at your peril. The Perky Kebab will not be impressed and will promptly point out that only feta produced in Greece can be called feta. It has a protected designation of origin (not that Australia or Denmark seem aware of this fact). Anything else is a lie and disgusting. And let’s face it; the Greek economy could do with all the help it can get at the moment, so please, buy authentic, people!
Unsurprisingly this is a seriously quick and easy dish to put together. Chop up your ingredients, throw them in a bowl (neatness is overrated on this occasion), dust liberally with dried oregano and drizzle with olive oil and vinegar.
My father in law swears that the only way to mix the salad is with your hands and I would completely agree. It always tastes so much better this way though I have no scientific backing for this theory. Serve with some crusty bread to mop up the delicious feta-infused juices that gather at the bottom of the bowl. Perfection.
This time last year: Broad Bean, Spinach & Mint Frittata
Greek Salad (Horiatiki Salata)
Serves 2 hungry people as a main or 4 as a side
3 ripe vine tomatoes, quartered and chopped into bite-size pieces
1/2 a large cucumber, peeled and chopped into chunks
1/2 small red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 pepper, cored and cut into chunks
Handful of olives, preferably Kalamata but any black olives will do
150g feta cheese, broken into chunks
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon dried oregano
Bread to serve
Place all of the vegetables, olives and feta in a salad bowl and top with the oregano. Pour on the oil and vinegar and mix thoroughly. Serve with bread to mop up the juices.
Assemble all the vegetables, olives and feta in a bowl up ahead of time (up to 12 hours I would say) but only dress the salad with the vinegar and oil just before serving to avoid things getting soggy.