Eating a Greek salad is one of the best parts of summer! Simple to make and so very delicious. Just about everyone has their favourite version of Greek salad, and below you'll find the recipe for mine. I make it without lettuce and no, there is absolutely nothing wrong with lettuce! But a traditional Greek salad contains no lettuce chiefly because, unless harvested in a greenhouse or shipped from a colder weather region, lettuces don't grow during the heat of the summer months as do tomatoes and cucumbers.
This is the rustic, country style version of Greek salad that goes on the table in every Greek household and seaside taverna. The dressing is simply olive oil and lemon, maybe a little vinegar too. There's always some dressing left at the bottom of the bowl and it absorbs the taste of the salad ingredients. In keeping with the rustic nature of this salad, a common practice is to mop up and eat the leftover dressing with pieces of freshly baked bread. This necessitates that one disavows a large measure of savoir-vivre but sometimes, who cares? It's a fun, sharing experience to break bread with one's tablemates in this way. There is even a colloquial term for the morsels dipped in an olive oil dressing: they are called papara ...
The word "horiatiki" derives from the word "horio," which means village. Horiatiki salata can be translated as rustic style, or country style, or village style salad. Because of its rustic nature, there is no set amount of ingredients to be used. Just make sure the salad looks good! I use the following:
- 2 or 3 tomatoes, sliced (sometimes I use both red and yellow tomatoes)
- 1 cucumber, peeled, sliced lengthwise then cut up into slices crosswise. Remove the seeds! It's preferable to use the English variety of cucumber because it has fewer seeds and tastes the best
- 1 green pepper, seeded and sliced (for subtler texture and flavour you can use a sweet Italian frying pepper)
- 1/2 red onion, peeled and sliced into thin rings
- a combination of kalamata and oil-cured olives, pits removed
- feta cheese cut into cubes
- chopped parsley
- black pepper
- a small amount of salt
- capers, rinsed
- dried oregano
- olive oil
- a bit of lemon juice
- if you are a vinegar fan, a bit of vinegar
optional: one small can of chickpeas or some homemade croutons if you have stale bread that needs to be used! A nice touch would be to roast the chickpeas, allow them to cool, then incorporate them into the salad. Same goes for the croutons. Drizzle with olive oil before placing in the oven and roast at 450°F/200°C for about 15 minutes. Keep checking so that they don't burn.
Directions for the salad:
- Arrange the sliced tomatoes and cucumber on the bottom of a nice sized salad bowl.
- Top with the peppers and capers.
- Add the onion slices, salt if using, black pepper, oregano, parsley, and olive oil.
- Sprinkle with a bit of lemon juice and the vinegar if using, and mix.
- Once the above ingredients are mixed, add the feta and olives in a decorative pattern. Top with a bit more olive oil and oregano.
- If you made the chickpeas or croutons, make sure they have cooled and throw those on there as well!
- Before the salad is served let it sit in the refrigerator for a while. It will come out tasting refreshing, plus the aromas of the vegetables and olive oil will get a chance to mix together, creating their own unique flavour.
If you try this or any other Greek salad, I hope you really, truly enjoy it!