Friday, 17 June 2011

Greek Salad

I've just come back from Samos, staying in a sweet house in a hill village called Vourliotes. To get there you drive up a vertiginous and winding road, with spectacular views, overlooking steep and rolling hillside, peppered with vineyards, olive groves and scrubby forest punctuated by pencil thin cypresses and occasional houses. Greek salad is served in all the village tavernas, and in every taverna on the island. Of course some are better than others, but it seems impossible to ruin a dish this simple, so long as the ingredients are good. In London I've always been served this dish with the feta cut into small pieces, but on Samos the cheese is laid on top of the veg in a big slab, sprinkled with oregano and then olive oil is poured over it. The onions are very sweet, and the amount used varies considerably, they are not simply red onions, but red onions will do. I'm going out to find the ingredients... well I will when the weather gets a bit warmer, because I don't think it'll taste the same in the cold and wet.



two large ripe beef tomatoes
1/2 large cucumber
1/2 bell pepper
1 sweet onion
1 large slice feta cheese
1 doz greek black olives, stones in

1 large slice feta, about 1.5cm x 10cm x 7cm
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 pinch salt, a few good grindings of black pepper

4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar


  • Wash all the veg.
  • Remove the tough stalky bit at the top of the tomatoes and cut into eight segments.
  • Finely slice bell pepper across (all seeds and stalk having been removed)
  • Cut the cucumber in half lengthways and cut into slices
  • Peel onion, cut in half and slice
  • Mix all together in a bowl with the olives
  • Mix together 3 tbsp olive oil and vinegar with salt and pepper and pour over sliced vegetables
  • Put slice of Feta on top of the dressed veg, sprinkle with dried oregano and pour over last tbsp of olive oil

Serve with crusty (if possible Greek) bread

Eat straight away

If you find the Feta a bit salty, let it soak in water or milk before using it. Drain and discard liquid before using.

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