Dakos


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Having recently returned from our summer holidays in the UK and Greece, it seems only fitting to kick off with a Greek recipe.  And given the heat wave you’ve all been having in the UK, this salad recipe is for you. 

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Dakos is basically the Greek version of Italy’s panzanella: a stale bread salad, loaded with tomatoes, feta and oregano, and in the case of today’s recipe, olives, capers, and onion too.

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Hailing from Crete, dakos are very hard dried rusks which soften up beautifully in the tomato juices and a dressing of oil and vinegar.   I haven’t seen many dakos rusks outside of Greece (though I may have been looking in the wrong places!) but any savoury rusk will do.  Swedish krisprolls (you can find those in Ikea!) are a great substitute.

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As with much Greek cooking, this is a seriously simple dish but one that totally relies on having sensational tomatoes.  Those tasteless, insipid, pale red/white tomatoes that you so often find in supermarkets just won’t cut it.  You need high quality, slow grown, truss/vine tomatoes for this recipe.

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Enjoy this delicious salad as a side in a BBQ feast, with a rotisserie chicken or just by itself with a cold glass of white wine.  You’re in for a treat!  Kali orexi!

Dakos

Serves 4

6 large tomatoes (500g) cut into rough 1cm dice
1/2 red onion, cut into 1cm dice
50g Kalamata or black olives, pitted and halved
40g capers
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
100g feta cheese, roughly crumbled
150g Cretan dakos, roughly broken*
Salt & pepper

To make:
  1. Place the tomatoes, onion, olives and capers in a bowl together with the vinegar, olive oil, oregano, a pinch of salt and a good grind of pepper.  Set aside at room temperature.
  2. Spread the dakos over a serving platter or pop into a salad bowl then spoon over the tomato mixture together with all the juices.  Crumble over the feta.  Leave to sit for 10 minutes before serving to allow the dakos to soften slightly.

* If you can’t get your hands on Cretan dakos then other savoury rusks will do – Swedish Krisprolls which you find in Ikea are a good substitute.

In advance:

You can prepare the tomato mixture, excluding adding the oil and vinegar up to 12 hours in advance (keep in the fridge).  You can definitely eat any left overs the next day but the dakos will be soft where it’s been covered in the dressing – still delicious though!

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