Greek Salad

Here's the word straight from my daughter visiting Greece; real Greek Salads don't have lettuce.  In Greece the salad is simply a medley of sliced tomatoes, diced cucumbers, olives, and red onion slices; topped with a hunk of delicious feta cheese and drizzled solely with olive oil- albeit very tasty olive oil.  I consulted my favorite Mediterranean cookbook,  Mediterranean Light by Martha Rose Schulman, and sure enough, this is the case.  In her book Ms. Schulman says that in Greece the salad - Elleniki Salata -  is served on individual plates.  It includes the ingredients Americans know to be in a Greek salad, but no lettuce; and each one topped with a slab of feta.   A Greek Salad in Greece seems to me the essence of eating local.  Lettuce is a cool weather crop, and Greece is a warm climate; the salad containing ingredients that grow well there.  The tomatoes are juicy and ripe, the olives delicious and the olive oil oh so good.  Americans, I guess, have added lettuce as it is readily available and good while the other ingredients are not at their peak year round.  We settle for mediocre tomatoes for months and our olives are imported, often from Greece.  Maybe this summer when I can pick a tomato and green pepper from my own garden and buy a locally grown cucumber and red onion, I'll make authentic Greek Salad.  For this April night, I'll pick my own lettuce from outside the kitchen door and toss together a good old American "Classic Greek Salad."  The following recipe is from the SimplyCooking® collection.

classic greek salad

romaine lettuce washed and dried
1/2 cucumber, diced
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup black or green olives, pitted

greek salad dressing

1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. basil
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup olive oil

Place all dressing ingredients except the oil in a jar.  Shake the jar vigorously, add the oil and shake again.