Greek Salad – instant summer lunch!

A gourmet always has time to prepare good food – even a snack.  Sometimes it’s just about buying the right ingredients to assemble. And it’s especially easy in the summer, on a hot day like today, when something cool and fresh is what’s needed.

I always have the ingredients for Greek Salad to hand: some good feta (usually it has a long use-by date so there’s no problem about having to use it quickly), cucumber, tomatoes, red onions, peppers (traditionally green are used in this salad but, as for me today, orange is fine too) and olives (preferably Kalamata black olives). Get a bowl out, size for one, and then chop to your own requirements. I guess you want a fairly even proportion of all the ingredients – though I usually have just a little sliced red onion – and roughly chop the vegetables into bite-size pieces, laying the feta on top. When I was in Kardamyli (see Beautiful Kardamyli), Greek Salad was always served with one whole thick slice of feta on the top. I have some oregano, mint and Greek basil growing in my garden so I chopped some of these to add to the salad. Then make a dressing in a small bowl: some Kalamata olive oil (nice and fruity!), red wine vinegar and some salt and pepper. I probably add about three parts oil to one part vinegar, but taste it and see if it’s how you like it; there aren’t rules, just what you like best. Then, dribble the dressing over the salad and … sit in the sun, slow down, take a first delicious taste … and enjoy!

Variation: In Greece the salad was always served with bread on the side. However, I don’t buy bread every day; I nearly always buy a campagne loaf from Paul. It’s delicious and lasts for a few days but after a couple of days I usually toast it and dribble over some olive oil. When I make Greek Salad I often toast a large slice of the bread and then dribble over a good amount of olive oil to soak in before cutting it into croutons. I then add this to the salad. It is, of course, a kind of Greek version of the Italian bread salad, panzanella, and a real bonus is the way the bits of toast soak up the delicious flavours of the salad as you eat it.

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A lifelong lover of good food and travel; writer and book editor

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