What in the World is Kat Cooking? Week 1 (Greek Week): Greek Salad

greeksalad1

I’ve had a lot of mediocre Greek salads in my lifetime. The kind where the predominant flavor is lemon and the predominant vegetable is chopped romaine, and there is always too much of both. No thanks. But when I went to Greece and ordered my first Greek salad because I figured, “Why not? When in Greece…”, I discovered a new kind of Greek salad. One that looks very different from its American cousin.

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A Greek salad from a restaurant in Greece. So simple, so delicious.

These salads are a thing of beauty. There is no lettuce in sight, just hefty chunks of tomato, cucumber, bell pepper, and onion, drizzled with olive oil and topped with olives and oregano. The main event though is the giant hunk of feta on top. Like Greek salad, feta cheese in Greece couldn’t be any more different from feta cheese in the US. Instead of being powdery and dry, it’s rich and creamy. It breaks off the slab in shards but melts on the tongue, dreamy and smooth. I couldn’t get enough of it. I think in the week we spent in Greece, I must’ve ordered Greek salads at four different restaurants, and I only stopped after my parents begged me to try a different kind of salad. Sometimes if I close my eyes, I can still taste that feta….

This is the first Greek salad I ever ate, from the Smile Cafe in Athens. Notice how it's half-eaten. I was so busy eating it that I forgot to take a picture until halfway through!
This is the first Greek salad I ever ate, from the Smile Cafe in Athens. Notice how it’s half-eaten. I was so busy eating it that I forgot to take a picture until halfway through!

This is my attempt to recreate those Greek salads. It’s the perfect recipe for summer, since it’s all cool, crispy veggies at their peak. It’s also an ideal recipe if you don’t feel like cooking, since all you have to do is haphazardly chop up some veggies, throw them on a plate, and top with feta that you don’t even have to crumble. That’s my kind of cooking!

Greek Salad

(serves 2-3)

3 medium tomatoes

1 English cucumber

1/2 green bell pepper

1/4 red onion

1 block of feta cheese, about the size of your palm

1/2 cup olives (I didn’t use them since I don’t like olives, but feel free to add them!)

Oregano

Olive oil

Salt

Pepper

Instructions:

Thinly slice red onion and soak in water for at least 10 minutes. Chop tomatoes and cucumbers into rough wedges that are about the same size. Thinly slice green bell pepper. Arrange tomatoes, cucumbers, green bell pepper, red onion, and olives on a plate. Lightly season salad with salt and pepper to taste, and drizzle with olive oil. Place feta cheese over the top and sprinkle salad with oregano. Enjoy!

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