You would think that the words ‘Greek Salad’ would be a generic term for all salads that originate from Greece. It may pleasantly surprise you to learn that it actually refers to a specific recipe of salad that well, did originate from Greece.
This Greek Salad is also referred to as ‘rustic salad’ or ‘summer salad’.
It has for its ingredients:
- Tomatoes, sliced.
- Feta cheese.
- Olives, preferably Kalamata olives.
- Seasonings of salt and oregano.
- Dressing of olive oil.
At your option, you can also include:
- Green bell pepper, sliced.
These ingredients comprise the most basic Greek Salad as it is referred to in its home country. Over the years, the term became a generic reference, and Greek Salads have sprouted and gained popularity in other countries like North America, Australia, and the United Kingdom and in South Africa.
The different variations now include additional ingredients like lettuce, radish, anchovies and pickled hot peppers. Dressings have also become a bit more complicated with the mixture of oil and vinegar, where the original recipe used only olive oil.
Noticeably, all the ingredients are organic. It is mainly vegetables. This is quite expected as Greece is an agricultural country. Its main products are olives, which account for the presence of olives and the use of olive oil in this recipe. Goats are more commonly bred, compared to cattle, thus explains the abundance of cheese.
In Cyprus, still part of Greece, they have the Cypriot Salad, which includes these ingredients:
- Tomatoes, finely chopped.
- Flat-leaf parsley.
- Feta cheese.
- Dressing of olive oil, lemon or as alternative, red wine vinegar.
Vegetables easily expire, and if you have lesser quality of it in your salad, the taste and the whole experience itself would not be so great. Here are a few tips in choosing the best ones for your salad:
- The tomatoes have to be firm, and not soggy.
- Onions should smell, but a fresh smell, not a stinky one.
- Use your fork to pierce the cucumber. If it instead bounces, ditch it.
Salads are generally easy to make. If you plan to serve it to some guests, it may take some preparations. You can do some of it the night before. The chopping can be done ahead, but don’t mix the ingredients yet. Put each kind in separate containers, the good kind that will securely seal it, and not mix the smell and flavors in the refrigerator. Do the mixing and the seasoning a few minutes before your guests arrive. It is best to put the dressing at the side so each guest can have his own preference. If you have nuts and cheese, try to put it in the side, too. Some guests may have allergies.
The full taste of the feta cheese will tease the palate, but the stomach may want something more filling than just a salad. For a hearty meal, you can serve this with bread or with a main course of meat or fish. But if you are on diet, you can still enjoy it with soup, like lentil or butter bean soup.