Last summer I was lucky to take not one but two trips to Greece. The first trip was to the Ionian Islands of Cofru, Paxos and Antipaxos. The second trip included the town of Meteora and the city of Thessaloniki and several villages in between. The geography was varied but the one thing that held true regardless of our locations was the food. Whether eating at fancier restaurants or simple mom and pop operations, all of the food was simple, fresh and delicious. Fish was a mainstay when we were near the sea while inland grilled lamb reigned supreme. But the one item that was guaranteed to be on every menu was a village salad.
The actual ingredients in a village salad may vary depending upon location but cucumbers, tomatoes, olives and feta cheese were mainstays. Oregano, whether fresh or dried was often included. Some salads may include peppers or onions. Because we were there during the steamy days of July all of the ingredients were local, super fresh and tasted so wonderful. I actually ate a salad as an entree at more than one meal.
I’ve attempted to recreate the salad on numerous occasions but some how the salads never taste quite as good as they do in Greece. But by using the freshest of ingredients; vegetables bought at the farmer’s market rather than the grocery store, feta cheese and olives from a Greek importer rather than mass produced products that come to Belgium from Greece via the United States, the results are pretty darn good.
GREEK VILLAGE SALAD
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup baby cucumbers, cut into coins
1 cup mixed Mediterranean olives
3/4 cup feta cheese, cubed
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Combine the tomatoes, cucumbers and olives in a large bowl.
- Gently fold in the feta cheese taking care not to crumble the cubes
- Drizzle the oil over the top of the salad, sprinkle with the oregano, salt and pepper. Toss well to combine.