Saturday, November 20, 2010
In Greece when you order a Horiatiki (=vilage) salad, more popular abroad as Greek salad, you always know what you are gonna get. It could be bigger or smaller, better or worse but it is always the same salad, consisting of the same ingredients. Funny thing, while living abroad I met many non-Greek people who have absolutely different thing in mind when they talk about Greek salad. Some people use lettuce in it, some dice the tomatoes, I've even heard about using a watermelon in it! I was really curious to see what other versions there are, so I googled it and I figured out many combinations that were at least weird.
So I decided to post a recipe of the original Greek salad, the one that you will get in one of those nice tavernas next to the see. The only tricky thing about it is to find good, tasty tomatoes, the ones that smell like your grandma's garden! Apart from that it's only chopping and mixing and that's it. You could use more or less any amounts of the listed ingredients you like. Here I will post the amounts that I prefer, which create a balanced combination. So, here we go.
2 large, ripe tomatoes
1 cucumber about 20cm long
1 medium onion, cut in half rings
feta cheese, as much as you like (I use about 100 gr for this amounts of vegetables, but I like lots of feta in the salad)
10-12 olives (I like green olives, other people use, black or kalamata or even ksidates (=marinated in vinegar), they all work great!)
1/2 tbsp dry oregano
5-6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp wine vinegar (optional)
salt to taste
1. Cut each tomato in 6-8 pieces and put them in a large bowl. Never dice them, and don't try to make the pieces small. This way all the juice will remain in the tomato, instead of the bowl.
2. Cut the cucumbers into half-circle pieces, again not too thin. Add them to the tomatoes.
3. Add the onion and olives and place some pieces of feta cheese on top.
4. Prepare the dressing: mix together the oil, oregano, salt and vinegar (if using) and pour over the salad. Alternatively, you could just add the dressing ingredients to the salad directly and then mix everything in the bowl. Ready to enjoy!
Now, one of the most important parts, how to eat it! You would think this is easy, but... Most of the non-Mediterranean people would simply transfer some of the salad from the common bowl to their own plate or maybe even use a separate salad plate. Wrong! In Greece we like sharing our food, whatever it is. When going out with friends we almost never order separate dishes, rather mixed plates for the table and then everybody bites from this and that, trying everything. I guess this is one of many ways that we have to bring people closer. Same goes to the salads. You will see in Greek restaurants people poking pieces of tomato and cucumber in the same bowl and at the end dipping pieces of fresh bread into the juices mixed with olive oil left in the bowl. I know that this might seem gross for many people but this is the way we enjoy our food. You should absolutely try it this way! Otherwise, it's not a Greek salad anymore! ;)