Greek Salad

Best. Salad. Ever. That title is so unassuming, isn’t it? I mean, haven’t we all had Greek salads in just about every Mediterranean restaurant in our area? What’s the big deal? I’ll tell you what’s the big deal: this salad changed my life, and I mean that quite literally. I told Joshua I’d like to have it every week, and he said, “Absolutely.”

This salad was inspired by this recipe from TheKitchn.com, as well as the basketfuls of fresh vegetables currently being produced in my mother’s garden. She was out of town this week, so we, her children, took turns taking care of her garden, in return for a share of the spoils.

Because, really. If you’ve ever gardened or known someone who did, you know that fresh, homegrown, organic produce is worth more than its weight in gold.

Anyway, so here it is. My take on Aglaia Kremezi‘s True Greek Salad (buy her book, from which the inspiration springs, originally, here).

A LIFE-CHANGING GREEK SALAD

Serves 2

2 slices gluten-free bread (or other bread of your choice, for making croutons), diced
1 large, ripe, preferably homegrown tomato, diced
1/2 an onion, sliced into paper-thin half-moons
4 leaves of green, such as lettuce, kale, dandelion, etc., chopped into small pieces
2 tablespoons capers, without their accompanying brine
10 basil leaves
2 slabs feta, any size you want (a mental picture borrowed from this post)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 jalapeño, diced very small
Zest of a lemon
Freshly ground salt & pepper

Combine the diced bread with a drizzle of olive oil – not enough to make the bread soggy, but enough to allow each piece to get a bit. Toss and spread out on a baking sheet (I actually used a cake pan, which was the perfect size – to each their own), and dust with salt and pepper. Broil until bread has browned, but not to much. Croutons should be crispy on the outside and soft in the middle, just the way I like them.
In two good-sized, shallow bowls/plates, spread out the tomato, half in each. Top with onion slices and chopped leaves. Sprinkle with capers; tear basil leaves into pieces and scatter them over the top. Lay a slab of feta on each salad, and sprinkle with half a teaspoon of dried oregano each.
In a small cup or bowl (I used the same one I had out for the bread cubes – SIMPLIFY), whisk together balsamic, olive oil, lemon zest, and jalapeño. Pour over each salad, just as much as you want – don’t drown anything.
Top the salads with your croutons when you’re ready to serve, so they don’t turn into unappetizing lumps of mush (as gluten-free bread, especially, is wont to do).

I found the salad very satisfying. And delicious. And everything that is wonderful about summer and Mediterranean food. If you want to be really Greek, serve olives on the side.

Joshua says: 10 out of 10!!!! For a salad?! And, like I said, he agreed to having it every week. Which, with all the things I want to cook, I don’t know if I’ll actually do. But at least I have the green light.

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