It turns out that I’ve been making Greek Salad wrong my entire life.
I guess I didn’t really know what real Greek Salad (or Horiatiki as they call it in Greece) was supposed to look or taste like.
I was really making it waaaaaaayyy more complicated than it needed to be. I had a chance to take a cooking class while we were in Athens (I talk more about it in my Authentic Tzatziki post) so I learned the “proper” way to make this delicious and popular dish.
Using the word “proper” to describe this dish just seems silly to me. In Greece, food is simple, fresh, and relaxed. Friends and families spend hours together slowly working their way through a meal (and some refreshing glasses of ouzo).
My instructor told me that the “real” chefs in Greece are the wives and mothers who spend time in the kitchen. When a family comes together for a meal, typically the women gather in the kitchen to chat, sip wine, and prepare the food. The men hang out in the living room drinking ouzo and snacking on appetizers (or “mezedes”) as they come out of the kitchen.
I laughed, because this is pretty much the way that the husband and I live on the weekends.
Horiatiki is commonly served as party of any meal, and is made from delicious fresh vegetables, salty olives, and creamy goat cheese. The climate in Greece allows for amazing, brightly colored vegetables practically year round. I’ve never seen such bright red tomatoes in my life!
The first piece of Feta cheese I had in Greece completely blew my mind. The “Feta” we eat here in the states is a far cry from the pungent aroma and silky texture found in Greek goat cheese.
You can find good Feta here if you make it a point to get the “good stuff.” Try checking an import market or high-end grocery store. Trust me, once you taste the difference you’ll know it was worth it!
Tips & Tricks
I wrote down three important notes and advice from our instructor to share with you about this salad:
- As I mentioned, buy good Feta. It makes all the difference! Leave it whole and place it on top.
- Cut the tomatoes directly over the serving bowl so all the delicious juices aren’t wasted. Real Horiatiki doesn’t use any other acid in the “dressing” than the tomato juice. Use fat, ripe tomatoes for the best flavor.
- Don’t leave out the green pepper! “Why Americans do this I do not know.”
Okay, get ready to impress your friends with all your Greek Salad knowledge and skills 🙂
Here’s Your Greek Salad Recipe!
- 1 large, ripe tomato
- 1/2 a large cucumber, roughly chopped
- 1 small green bell pepper, roughly chopped
- 1/2 a large red onion, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup Kalamata olives
- 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
- 8 ounces high-quality Feta cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon capers
- Cut the tomato into bite-sized pieces over a large serving bowl to catch the dripping juice. Add in the cucumber, bell pepper, onion, olives, and salt. Use hands to toss together, squeezing occasionally to allow the tomatoes to release more juices.
- Place the whole brick Feta cheese on top of the salad. Sprinkle with oregano, drizzle with olive oil, and top with capers. Serve!