What makes a salad Greek? Good question, since there are a thousand recipes with that title, all different. Most Greeks seem to agree, however, that it has olives in it and a dressing made with lemon juice. This recipe comes from a salad I had at a sidewalk plaza-side restaurant in central Athens. It was an extremely hot, humid day, and the salad hit the spot. By the way, the Greeks call this salad "horiatiki salata", which means village salad. They are amused at the "Greek salad" connotation.
You can use any kind of cucumber. I like the so-called English variety, but , if you use the more common kind, scoop out the seeds. It goes without saying that the tomatoes have to be garden fresh and sweet. This recipe uses a green bell pepper, but you could also use red or yellow bell peppers by themselves or in addition to the green. Feel free to add chopped fresh herbs such as basil, oregano, or parsley
My Athens salad was served on a bed of Bibb lettuce leaves, primarily for decoration, but it didn't add anything to the taste of the salad, and you can include greens or not as you wish. In Greece, the salad is served with excellent fresh bread. Opa!
1 Cucumber, peeled or not as you prefer, large dice
3 Roma tomatoes, seeded and large dice
1 Green bell pepper, large dice or cut into rings
1 Medium red or other sweet onion, sliced thin
3/4 Cup Kalamata olives, pitted
3/4 Cup Feta cheese, crumbled or cubed
1 Tbs Chopped fresh herbs (optional)
6 Tbs EVOO
2 Tbs Freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 Tbs Red or white wine vinegar
1 Clove Garlic, pressed or minced
Salt and pepper to taste
If the onion is not very sweet, soak the slices in ice water for 10 minutes, which will get rid of most of the acrid taste.
Put the cucumber, tomatoes, bell pepper, onion, olives, cheese and herbs in a large bowl. Put the EVOO, lemon juice, vinegar, garlic and salt and pepper into a small jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake the jar like crazy for 10 seconds and pour the contents over the salad. Toss well. Serve immediately on a bed of greens or not as you prefer.