Monday, May 12, 2014

Greek Salad

During my food-formative years, restaurants that everyone referred to as "Greek Restaurants" popped up in the neighborhood. They weren't restaurants serving exclusively Greek food, though. They were diners owned by Greek families.

Like most diners, you could get breakfast, lunch or dinner. Eggs, sandwiches, burgers ... the usual fare. but the Greek owners brought with them a few things that I'd never tried before.

Among those were gyros meat, tzaitziki sauce, kalamata olives, and feta cheese.

Needless to say, two of those three were on Greek salads, which quickly became a go-to meal.

One of the things I loved about the Greek salad was the dressing. It was a pretty simple dressing, but while my mom used a fairly tasteless vegetable oil for her salad dressing, this used olive oil. That was new, too.

And, while mom had a variety of vinegars that she used for salads, this used a combination of vinegar and lemon juice, which was totally new to me.  Wow, lemon juice. Radical. Okay, I was pretty young.

The other difference was the presentation. While mom's salad were tossed or mixed before serving. But the Greek salads, while not entirely a composed salad, were also not tossed or mixed.

It took me quite a while to figure out why those Greek salads were so different from what I was used to, but I knew that I loved them. And when the lettuce and all the other bits were gone, I used a dinner roll to sop up the dressing.

Yeah, I was hooked.

So, when the latest book from the Cook My Book group came along (I Like You by Amy Sedaris), I decided to give her version of Greek Salad a try. I left off the pine nuts she had in the recipe. Add them to taste, if you like them.

Tula's Country-Style Greek Salad
Adapted from I Like You by Amy Sedaris

Iceberg lettuce, as needed
3 tomatoes, sliced or cut in wedges
1 cucumber, peeled and sliced
3 scallions or 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 green bell pepper, cut in bite-size chunks
5 ounces feta cheese, cubed or crumbled
Handful of kalamata olives
Salt and pepper, to taste
Dried oregano, to taste
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil, as needed

Arrange the lettuce in 6 serving bowls ... but seriously, I just made one salad for myself and added all the ingredients to taste. because that's how I roll.

Scatter on the tomatoes, cucumber slices, onion, feta cheese, and olive. Sprinkle on salt, pepper, and oregano, to taste.

Combine the wine vinegar and lemon juice in a small bowl. Drizzle in the olive oil, whisking, to combine. Or, you can put the ingredients in a salad shaker or small jar and shake to combine. Taste and add salt and pepper, as needed. Add more oil if it's too tangy.

Drizzle the dressing over the salads and serve.

This is not in any way a sponsored post. Within the Cook My Books group, we circulate copies of books from our personal collections.