This is a classic (lettuce free) salad with a subtle twist. The Greek salad is known to all, but not everyone understands that to really get that delicious flavours coming through, its important to focus on the quality and quantity of ingredients. Use ripe, full flavoured tomatoes (kept at room temperature), good quality olive oil and olives, fresh herbs, and you can’t go wrong. Baked feta is a traditional Greek dish as well, so it seemed in keeping with their culture to replace the feta with this creamy, garlicky baked variation. So simple, yet so delicious!
Recipe serves 2 but adjust ingredients to your needs
2 rounds of greek style feta (1 per portion)
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 sprigs fresh oregano/origanum ( leave 2 sprigs whole, discard stems and chop up the leaves of the other 2)
Olive oil (80 ml for dressing plus about 20ml for drizzling)
4 tsp red onion, finely chopped
2 tsp basil, chopped
Juice of half a lemon
80 ml olive oil
5 ml red wine vinegar
Half a cucumber, peeled and chopped
200 g rosa tomatoes, halved
2 tbsp capers
Olives of your choice (Kalamata being the classic choice but as I couldn’t find any good quality ones, I used Manzanillo – a green varietal from Spain)
Preheat oven to 170 degrees celsius. Cut 2 squares of foil and place a round of feta in the middle of each. Top each round with the sliced garlic, a sprig of oregano and drizzle with olive oil. Wrap and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. While the feta bakes, prepare the dressing by mixing together the basil, chopped oregano, red onion, lemon juice, olive oil and red wine vinegar. The longer this dressing stands, the more pronounced the flavours become. Divide the cucumber, tomato, olives and capers between 2 plates. Once the feta is done, unwrap and slide onto the salad. Spoon some of the dressing over the salad and voila! Perfect for summer. Serve as a main with some fresh baked bread, or as a side to some lamb chops thrown on the braai!
More fun facts on Greek salad:
The addition of capers is especially popular in the in the Dodecanese islands.
Jamie Oliver’s tip for leftover greek salad: pop leftover Greek salad into a liquidizer with a splash of extra virgin olive oil and a few ice cubes, then blitz it up to a smooth consistency so it’s basically a Greek gazpacho. It’s not a classic thing to do, but it is very delicious, not to mention a great way of using up leftovers!