When people ask me what I miss most about the UK, I usually say ‘Greece’.
The Husband and I spent a lot of time travelling in the Peloponnese, the Pelion and island-hopping - mostly in the Cyclades – before the Minx came on the scene and we can’t wait to go back there with her.
Anyone who’s spent any time in Greece will know that most restaurant meals will be accompanied by a simple Greek salad, or horiatiki (‘village salad’) which is remarkably similar wherever you travel in Greece. A lot of people are scathing about Greek food but there’s something very comforting about this simple salad and we’ve been eating it a lot here in Seattle this summer as we’ve managed to find a good source of Greek feta. We usually accompany it with some grilled lamb or chicken.
Here’s my recipe – which serves 2-4 people. All the quantities are very approximate, just add or subtract different quantities of ingredients, to taste or depending on how many you’re serving and what you’ve got to hand.
Tomatoes – the redder and juicier the better. I chop up about a punnet of sweet cherry tomatoes
Cucumber – about half a large one, cut into thickish rounds.
Red onion – about half a small one
Green pepper – we’ve seen salads with and without peppers in different areas of Greece, so these are optional. Here in the US, I like to use the pointy, slightly spicy, green Anaheim peppers. Add one or two chopped and deseeded peppers to taste. If you’re not using peppers, add a bit more cucumber.
Olives – we add a handful of pitted Kalamata olives from a jar, but any sticky, salty black olives will do
Feta cheese – feta just means ‘slice’ and in Greece this salad normally comes served with a thick slice of feta placed on top
Oregano – this salad is always seasoned with a good sprinkling of dried oregano. When we first had this in Greece I was surprised that they used the dried stuff when fresh oregano grows pretty much wild and it felt strange to use dried herbs on a salad. But it’s traditional, and it works.
Olive oil – the salad is dressed with a good slug of olive oil. I like to add to add a little red or white wine vinegar, but again that’s not always the case in Greece.
Assemble your ingredients and serve the salad with the slab of feta still intact on the top. At the table, serve the salad by mooshing up the cheese with a spoon and stirring it into the other ingredients, to create an oily, cheesy dressing. Never add salt to this salad – the olives and cheese are plenty salty enough.