Not in the name of Greek salad
"the ultimate high-summer salad … best eaten with sand between your toes and salt on your lips" ...Nigel Slater
Here in Castro Marim,never a moment goes by when we don´t have some of the best salt in the world on our lips and if we want sand between our toes it is only a short drive away.What better place to eat a Greek salad in high summer then,than here in the East Algarve.
The term Greek Salad is one of the most abused in the world.Greece has always had a large range of interesting and novel salads,nearly all of which involve the ingredients to be wilted first. I don´t do no wilting with salads because I think of salad as a dish of raw ingredients with no cooking involved.Lemon thyme and honey are ingredients I consider are not authentic, but essential, to a Greek salad and of course the whole salad revolves around the core ingredient of feta cheese.
Stirred into action by Felicity Cloake´s recent reminder here is what some might call an abomination in the name of "Greek salad", but it was colourful and greek-saladly delicious without bearing much resemblance to the real thing.My only crime, I added a cooked element -risoni (Italian: "big rice") a form of short-cut pasta, shaped like a large grain of rice).If you are in Portugal look for Pontinha on the Supermarket shelf.My salad was not Greek salad but an embellishment of horiatiki (Village salad) .
My embellishment of a Greek salad
250g block Feta cheese
100g Risoni( you could use orzo, another type of pasta rice))
1 medium sized red onion thinly sliced
Generous handful cherry tomatoes
2 Tomatoes on the vine seeds removed then chopped into chunks
1 small cucumber peeled and cut into chunks
generous pinch of dried thyme
3 sprigs of fresh oregano leaves separated from their stalks
25g Kalamata olives stoned
25g of cooked french beans,cut into 5cm lengths or 25g shelled broad beans
1 tablespoon capers
handful of chopped flat leaf parsley
handful chopped coriander
1 small round lettuce or Romaine, Little Gem or Cos lettuce
Crumble the Feta into a large mixing bowl.Add the risoni followed by all the rest of the ingredients except the lettuce.Pour over the dressing and toss well to ensure all the ingredients are well dressed.
In a large salad bowl make a circle of lettuce leaves around the edge to form a well hat the rest of the ingredients can sit in.
Tip all the mixed salad ingredients into the well of lettuce leaves and serve.Bom apetite
For the dressing
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 clove garlic,crushed
In a screwtop jar put the lemon juice,oil,salt,pepper,oregano and garlic.Shake the jar vigorously until it is a thick creamy consistency.