When it comes to a classic Greek salad, it’s all about simplicity and authenticity. Known in Greece as Horiatiki which means village salad, it requires the freshest of ingredients, and with minimal effort you’ll have a salad that looks as impressive as those found in any Greek taverna.
It is easy to spot an authentic Greek salad, but even easier to spot one that isn’t. In order to be authentic, it is important to remain true to traditional ingredients and flavours. With such a short ingredients list; the freshness of each element is vital.
A classic Greek salad should always contain beautiful sun kissed red tomatoes, crisp cucumbers, crunchy green capsicums (bell peppers), sliced red onion, tangy Kalamata olives and the ultimate Greek ingredient: fetta cheese.
A splash of olive oil and red wine vinegar, salt and dried oregano, will give you the flavours that make this dish so quintessentially Greek.
What you shouldn’t find in a true Greek salad are leafy greens!!!! Various herbs and seasonings are also a no-no when it comes to a Classic Greek Salad.
Choosing fetta is a matter of taste: some are saltier, tangier or creamier than others. So it is difficult to place hard and fast rules about which fetta you should choose.
There are a few of things that are good to look out for when you are trying to decide: 1. You need to go for the brands that are made with sheep’s milk 2. Avoid anything that looks yellowish; fetta should be white 3. There should be a few tiny holes on the surface 4. If your delicatessen or supermarket is agreeable, do a taste test; it should have a tangy flavour.
You might have noticed that l have left my fetta as a slab on top of the salad ingredients. I did this to show you how it is served in Greece.
At home, l usually break apart the fetta into chunks with my fingers and scatter them on top of the salad. Chunks of fetta on top give it a rather rustic look.
As for Fetta cheese that’s cut into neat little cubes … not really my style!!
Preparation Time: 15 minutes Serves: 4
- 3 -4 ripe tomatoes cut into wedges (Note 1)
- 1 – 2 Lebanese cucumbers, sliced (Note 2)
- 1 medium green capsicum (bell pepper) sliced
- 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 20 Kalamata olives
- 200 g fetta cheese
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- Place the tomatoes, cucumbers, green capsicum (bell pepper) and red onion in a bowl or a large plate. Scatter the olives over the top.
- Season with salt. Pour the olive oil and vinegar over the salad. Toss all the ingredients together.
- Place the fetta cheese on top or use your fingers to separate it into chunks.
- Sprinkle the salad with dried oregano and drizzle a little more olive oil. Serve immediately.
- I use whichever tomatoes look the best i.e. plump, and red, at the supermarket. For these photographs, l used 8 cocktail tomatoes, alternatively 3 -4 regular size tomatoes are enough for this recipe.
- When preparing the cucumber and capsicum (bell pepper), go for slightly thickish slices. You want to retain some of the crunchiness.