Hot Day, Cool Salad
This weekend was h-o-t! Today had humidity usually found in the middle of July. As much as I enjoy the sun, I prefer my temperatures a little cooler, in the 70s with a spring breeze. I ran around all weekend with my wonderful friend from home, dress shopping for our friend’s wedding, and now I am exhausted. I couldn’t take standing over a hot stove, so for dinner I wanted a meal that was cool and crisp.
Greek salad has always been one of my go-tos to order at any restaurant or deli. It is a salad with so much “stuff” in it. Order a garden salad, you may get some lettuce with cherry tomatoes and if you’re lucky a cucumber or onion. Cesear salad you get the great dressing and Parmesan cheese, but usually not much else. But Greek salad – you always have lettuce, tomatoes, olives and feta, with herbs and a wonderful vinegar dressing. When in doubt, I go Greek.
I’ve made my own versions of Greek salad before, but never in the traditional sense. I throw some feta and tomatoes with lettuce and call it a day, but this evening I wanted the real thing. I went with a recipe from one of my favorite chefs: Nigella Lawson. I am lucky enough to own her cookbook Forever Summer, a collection of recipes perfect for a sweltering day like today. I trust her as she shares her stories and know she has a reason behind every step in a recipe. Even if it seems more complex than necessary, I know Nigella will prove to be right in the end. This was no exception.
Greek Salad (adapted from Nigella Lawson)
1/2 head romaine lettuce
2 plum tomatoes
1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
1 cup olives, chopped
1/2 cucumber, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons olive oil
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt and pepper
In a medium bowl, take the thinly sliced onion and mix with the vinegar, oil, and oregano. Put in the fridge for an hour.
In a small bowl, quarter each tomato lengthwise, then take each quarter and quarter that. Sprinkle with sugar and salt and set aside for 15 minutes.
Take each lettuce leaf and cut in thirds lengthwise, then chop into small pieces. Put in the bowl with the onions and mix in the olives, feta, tomato and cucumber. Add the lemon juice and toss until all ingredients are mixed well.
Serve with pita bread.
The salad seems like it takes so many steps, but the results are amazing. Marinading the onions is a hugely important step, as the oil and vinegar cut the harsh raw onion taste and makes them quite pleasant to eat on their own. This was the perfect meal for a summer evening, along with some not-so-successful homemade (pocketless) pita. Now I’m off to sit in front of the fan and debate whether it is too early to start the AC.