Join writer and editor Rosemary Gretton as she prepares a beautiful salad
The best Greek salad I’ve ever had was when I landed in Agia Galini, a tiny fishing village on the south coast of Crete. Of course, there, it was called horiatiki, which translated means “village,” “rustic” or “country.” And it was pretty simple: chopped tomatoes, green pepper, onions, cucumber, feta, olives. Olive oil and vinegar in plain bottles on the table. Always served with freshly baked bread in a basket. I was 17 and on a European backpacking adventure with a friend, and it was heaven.
We stayed in Agia Galini for a month, and every evening, we ate supper outside at our table overlooking the blue blue Mediterranean, enjoying our horiatiki and fasolada (bean soup), washed down with a glass or two of retsina.
I have made many Greek salads over the years since that trip. A few years ago, I returned to Greece with my family, and shared the pleasure of horiatiki and saganaki (pan-seared cheese) with my son at a tiny restaurant perched at the top of Santorini. I love the simplicity of the ingredients of this salad, but I also like to experiment, so the vinaigrette changes a little each time I make it.
Rosemary’s Greek Salad
2-3 large ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped (use heirloom tomatoes if available)
1 red pepper, seeded, cored and sliced
1/2 red onion, peeled and sliced
1/2 English cucumber, rinsed and sliced
1/4 cup Kalamata olives, sliced
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2-3 sprigs parsley
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2-3 cloves garlic, roasted and minced
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 T. maple syrup
Salt and pepper to taste
Begin the Salad:
Prepare tomatoes, red pepper, cucumber. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Combine tomatoes, red pepper, cucumber and olives in medium serving bowl. Sprinkle the sliced onion with lemon juice and let stand while you prepare the vinaigrette.
Combine all ingredients in a bottle or carafe with a lid. Shake until mustard and garlic are mixed in.
Finish the Salad:
Add feta cheese, olives and red onion to salad. Toss with vinaigrette. (Note: I only used about half of the vinaigrette. Store any remaining vinaigrette in the fridge.)
Top with parsley as garnish. If available, garnish with chopped fresh basil if preferred.
Serve with slices of French baguette or garlic bread. Serves 3-4 as a side dish.