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Summer has arrived, and with it a lateral shift in my cooking for all in one dishes and cozy bowlfuls to tables full of different platters – usually to go with meat or fish done on the barbecue – where everyone can help themselves.
I call it non-traditional, because I have made a few minor tweaks, basing it more off of the Greek-style Easy Pasta Salad I wrote for BBC Food, as well as the traditional recipe. For a start I’ve used fresh oregano from the garden rather than the more traditional dried because my taste buds sway more towards dried herbs for cooking, and fresh for salads and the like.
Secondly, I’ve added a spritz of lemon juice to the extra virgin olive oil dressing, because I think it really brings together all the elements of the dish, turning it into more of a salad than just a plate full of ingredients with an olive oil drizzle.
Thirdly, a brilliant trick I first learnt from making the excellent panzanella in Florence Knight’s wonderful book One: A chef and her cupboard(ad) I soak the sliced red onion in cold water for a while before patting the pieces dry and adding them to the salad. This nifty trick takes some of the bite and the sting out of the onion, so you get their beautiful flavour without having to deal with that in your face raw onion taste.
This salad is perfectly happy to be made in advance earlier in the day – just keep it in the fridge and remember to bring it up to room temperature before serving – fridge cold tomatoes are never a good idea!
A simple, almost traditional Greek Salad made with tomatoes, cucumber, feta, red onion, black olives, extra virgin olive oil and oregano.
1/2 small red onion
1/2 English cucumber
200g (7 oz) mixed tomatoes
handful dried black olives
60g (2.5 oz) feta
freshly ground sea salt & black pepper
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
small handful fresh oregano, leaves picked
Peel and finely slice the onion into half moons. Separate the slices and leave them to sit in a bowl of cold water. Set aside.
Peel the cucumber and cut it into half moon chunks. Scatter the chunks over a serving platter. Some people like to take the seeds out of the cucumber citing that they make the salad wet, I think they’re one of the best bits! To get the striped pattern in the picture use a vegetable peeler to make lines in the peel of the cucumber before chopping it, rather than peeling the whole thing.
Cut the tomatoes into uneven chunks and scatter those too across the platter along with the dried black olives.
Drain the onion slices and pat them dry on a piece of kitchen towel before scattering them over the salad.
Break the feta up into generous chunks and add them to the plate, followed by a little sea salt and a generous amount of black pepper.
Whisk together the olive oil and the lemon juice and drizzle the dressing over the salad. Scatter over the oregano leaves (only chop these if they’re particularly large) and serve the salad at room temperature.
You can make this salad a couple of hours ahead, keeping it covered in the fridge and bringing it back up to room temperature before serving.
I'm a food writer living in London and the English Countryside. Welcome to my online diary where I share easy, weeknight recipes, foodie travel diaries and some of the best places I've eaten out recently.
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