The most traditional Greek salad recipe, and the kind of Greek salad you will usually encounter in Greece, does not typically include lettuce, but is more a bowl of raw, chunky vegetables with a little olive oil and lemon juice. The flavors of this dish just get better with time, and you can store leftovers and use with grilled meats or in sandwiches made with pita pockets.
The rich, zesty vinaigrette gets great authentic flavor from the fresh oregano, and is further enhanced by the fresh mint and parsley. Marinating the onion and cucumber slices in the vinaigrette helps tone down the raw onion in the salad.
Greek Country Salad
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice from 1 lemon
2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano leaves
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 medium clove garlic, pressed through garlic press or minced (about 1 teaspoon)
6 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 medium red onion, sliced thin (about 3/4 cup)
1 medium cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices (about 2 cups)
3 ripe tomatoes, cut into wedges
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, loosely packed, torn
1/4 cup mint leaves, loosely packed, torn fresh
10 large kalamata olives, each olive pitted and quartered lengthwise
6 ounces best feta cheese you can find
1 teaspoon dried Greek oregano
Olive oil for drizzle
1. Whisk vinaigrette ingredients in large bowl until combined. Add onion and cucumber and toss; let stand to blend flavors, about 20 minutes.
2. Add tomatoes, bell pepper, parsley and mint to bowl with onions and cucumbers; toss to coat with dressing.
3. Transfer salad to wide, shallow serving bowl or platter; sprinkle olives and feta over salad. Drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with dried oregano. Serve immediately.
(James Moore's blog is Cook Like James. One for the Table is Amy Ephron's online magazine that specializes in food, politics, and love. http://www.oneforthetable.com)